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Updates from week commencing 1 November 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 5 November 2021



Raise awareness during Mouth Cancer Action Month


We are encouraging dentists and teams to support the Oral Health Foundation’s Mouth Cancer Action campaign during November, by raising awareness of oral cancers with your patients.


New cases of mouth cancer reached a record high of 8,722 last year, which is an increase of 58% compared to ten years ago.


Early detection is the key to improved survival rates for those contracting oral cancers, and we are concerned that mouth cancer referrals have fallen since the beginning of the lockdowns.


We continue to campaign to raise awareness of oral cancers and the HPV vaccination and over the course of the next month we will have more content and information to offer you.


In the meantime, we encourage you to:






CPD: Equality, diversity and inclusion


No one should be negatively affected by uncontrollable factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, class or disability. That's why, we're encouraging members to sign up for our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training course.


Inclusion is about making sure that everyone has the same opportunities to achieve in life. The perspectives and insight provided by this course may support you and your practice to be more consciously inclusive, considerate and respectful of diversity.


  • Availability: BDA members
  • Content: Modules, quizzes and short videos
  • 4.5 verifiable hours CPD.




England: Rees-Mogg accused of misleading House over NHS funding


The Leader of the House Jacob Rees-Mogg MP misled Parliament this week after he claimed that NHS dental services were benefitting from the NHS 'catch-up' programme.


In response to calls for a debate on funding and access from Bradford's Judith Cummins MP, Rees-Mogg told the House that there is a "very considerable catch-up plan for the NHS". This would include £5.4 billion over the next six months. He also said resources are being provided to help dentists work through the backlog.


Over 35 million appointments have been lost since lockdown. However, not a penny of the multi-billion pound catch up programme has been allocated to primary care dental services in England, despite this unprecedented backlog.





England: New coaching service for the primary care workforce


NHS England have launched a new national coaching service for primary care workers.  


Looking after your career will see experienced coaches offering individually tailored support to help you to take practical steps over your career direction and to proactively advance it.


The aims of the coaching service is to:

  • support career conversations
  • facilitate a connection and awareness of other national workplace offers in place
  • support retention and delivery of the 6k and 26k primary care workforce manifesto commitments.

All coaching is free and confidential and sessions are available Monday to Saturday.


You can register and book a coaching session at NHS England: Looking after your career



Thursday 4 November 2021



England: MPs challenge the use of dental X-rays in immigration cases


We are working to ensure unethical and inaccurate dental age checks on child migrants do not make a return.


Earlier this week MPs debated an amendment to the Nationality and Borders Bill suggested by the BDA which aimed to restrict the use of dental X-rays in migration cases.


The Government recently suggested they have dropped their initial plans to use dental X-rays as an indicator of whether an asylum seeker has reached the age of 18. However, the New Clauses on this subject continue to give the Home Office the power to use any scientific method of determining age, with limited safeguards.


The amendment, tabled by Paul Blomfield MP called on the Minster to follow the BDA guidance that X-rays should be carried out only for medical purposes, and where the patient stands to benefit.


As the Bill continues to make its way through Parliament, we will continue our campaign to definitively rule out radiographic age tests.





Northern Ireland: How to claim your Covid recognition payment


Tonight, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) will be hosting a free training session on how to claim your covid recognition payment.


The session will take place at 19:00 on Zoom.


If you’re unable to make this time, you can join the GMS/GP Federations session at 8pm instead. However, please be aware this session will not be tailored to dentistry.


HSCB have also created guidance notes as well as a staff fact sheet to help iron out the complexities. If you have further questions, HSCB can be contacted directly at:


The closing date for claims is 17 November 2021 at 17:00.


We advise practices to make your claims as soon as possible.





England: Free flu jabs for NHS dental teams


NHS England has said that NHS dental teams will be eligible for the NHS flu programme this year. Chief Dental Officer, Sara Hurley, has encouraged all dentists to take up this new offer for their own safety and our patients.


This is welcome news, and not before time. We are pressing for this to be a permanent arrangement, not a one-off.


Who is eligible?

Staff employed by primary care contractors and involved in the frontline provision of primary care services, including non-clinical staff who have face-to-face contact with patients.


Who is not eligible?

Any non-clinical staff not directly involved with the provision of NHS services on a day-to-day basis or do not have face-to-face contact with patients are not eligible. Primary care contractors and their frontline staff who provide private services only are also not eligible. Staff who work in private practices can be offered flu vaccination paid for by their employer under their occupational health responsibilities.





Dental careers podcast: Specialty training


Are you interested in going into specialty training?


On our podcast, Chairside: Conversations about careers in dentistry, Andrea Ogden chats with two specialty trainees and covers the questions that students and FDs so often ask, such as:



  • When is the best time to do it?
  • How difficult is it to apply?
  • What other challenges can you take on at the same time?


They discuss academic research, starting a family and what you really need to know before taking the leap into specialty training.


Khadeeja Saeed BDS Manchester 2015: "I’ve always known about special care but I think, like with many dental students, you hear about the different specialities but until you actually work in the speciality, you don’t actually appreciate the kind of work you do."


Payal Sharma-Birch, BDS London 2008: "I get to work with my favourite patient groups, children, and I get to see the transformative effect our work can have on their confidence and their mental health, and I’m very grateful I can be part of that journey."


Listen on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or search “Chairside” on your chosen podcast platform.



Wednesday 3 November 2021



NHS Pensions: Age discrimination redress


If your pension has been affected by age discrimination, NHS Pensions should reach out to you from February 2022 to remedy the situation. This will apply to you if you joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and were still a member of the scheme on 1 April 2015.


Members who joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and were still a member of the scheme on 1 April 2015 will be asked to choose their pension scheme benefits when they become payable. The legislation for the remedy is currently being prepared. Retired members and the beneficiaries of those members that are deceased will be the first to receive the information.


Further information is available on the NHS Pensions website. If you have any questions, please contact the BDA Pensions Team on or 020 7563 6897.





Northern Ireland: Practice allowance payment for November 2021


The Business Services Organisation (BSO) has confirmed that the practice allowance payment will continue to be paid – subject to the conditions of the Financial Support Scheme (FFS) being met.


The calculation of the November 2021 payment will be based on the November 2020 payment, uplifted by 2.58%.


Those practices who met the criteria for the additional 7% in 2020/21 will continue to be paid at this rate in 2021/22, unless there are exceptional circumstances which preclude such a payment.


The deadline for this application is 17:00 on Monday 8 November 2021.





Scotland: NHS dentistry at risk if support is withdrawn


Scotland faces the risk of an exodus from NHS dentistry should the Scottish Government's plans to cut emergency funding by 1 April 2022 go ahead.


This was the clear message from our recent survey of dentists in Scotland in which over 80% told us they are likely to reduce their NHS commitment if the cuts that Cabinet Secretary, Humza Yousaf, announced in October are realised.


Practices are still grappling with an unprecedented backlog. Recent data from Public Health Scotland indicates that the number of treatments delivered in the year to March 2021 was less than 25% of those delivered in the previous 12-month period. This amounts to over 3.5 million appointments lost due to the pandemic.


As Scottish Dental Practice Committee Chair David McColl stated:


"We doubt Humza Yousaf wants to be remembered as the man who killed NHS dentistry in Scotland. Without a willingness to reflect on choices made in recent weeks that risks being his legacy.


"Ministers have a responsibility to offer an interim funding package to support dentists and their teams as we work through the backlog, and to prioritise the development of a new and sustainable model for delivering care."


We will be giving oral evidence to the Scottish Parliament's COVID-19 Recovery Committee next week and will keep making the case for real support for our members.



Tuesday 2 November 2021



Scotland: New tools to support staff wellbeing


The Scottish Government have collated a list of useful tools available to help support staff wellbeing.


After persistent pressure from the BDA to address this vital issue, particularly in light of the pandemic, the government unveiled the Workforce Specialist Service last week. This tool offers confidential mental health assessment and treatment for all regulated health professionals providing NHS services, including independent contractors.


The Workspace Specialist Service joins a body of services also devoted to help support staff wellbeing.


These include:


  • National Wellbeing Helpline (0800 111 4191): Trained practitioners at NHS 24 offer psychological support and provide a compassionate and empathic listening service, advice, signposting and onward referral to local services if required. This service is 24/7.
  • Leadership Support: Coaching, peer support and cross-sector learning sets
  • Coaching for Wellbeing: A digital coaching service for all health and social care staff
  • National Wellbeing Hub: A self-care and wellbeing resources for all staff, unpaid carers, volunteers and their families to enhance personal resilience and signpost to relevant mental health and support services.

There is also funding additional funding available to support psychological care, including £4 million set aside to provide resources for wellbeing. More information can be found at: Caring for those who care for us.





Northern Ireland: Patient registrations extended until 31 March


An extension of patient registrations until the end of March 2022 has been confirmed by The Department of Health, Health and Social Care Board and Business Services Organisation.


If the patient registration was originally set to expire between 12 March 2020 and 31 December 2021, these will be extended to at least 31 March 2022. Any registrations that were not due to expire will be extended by an additional three months. As such, any patient who has attended or had their registration updated since 12 March 2018 will remain registered until at least 31 March 2022.


GDS has asked that your practice systems are updated to accommodate this rollover of patient registrations with a general rule of thumb that patients who have attended since 12 March 2018 should remain registered until at least the end of the financial year. HSCB will issue a further update in December. We will keep you updated.





Scotland: Share your comments on revised Winter Respiratory IPC guidance


Dental teams across Scotland are invited to comment on the final draft Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection (ARHAI) Winter Respiratory IPC addendum.


This follows the significant feedback from dental stakeholders to the initial ARHAI consultation on winter respiratory guidance, which ARHAI have sought to reflect in this latest draft. This includes:


  • Dental specific sections – guidance specific to dental settings or particular services within dental settings are highlighted in lilac.
  • Some additional wording highlighted in yellow which is in response to stakeholder feedback since the previous document was issued last month.

You are invited to comment on these sections via the consultation form which then needs to be emailed directly to:


The closing date for responses is Friday 12 November.


The Scottish guidance will be published on 29 November. The publication date for the UK guidance is not yet clear and it is possible that it will be after 29 November. Should this be the case, once the UK guidance is published, ARHAI will review their guidance to ensure it is as closely aligned as possible.



Monday 1 November 2021



Dental careers podcast: Kids, community and prisons


Have you thought about treating children? Or perhaps you're pondering the prison service or CDS? On our podcast, Chairside: Conversations about careers in dentistry, Andrea Ogden speaks to two dentists about their careers in these areas, giving you an insight into their experience and motivations.


Jinesh Thakrar, ex-prison dentist and current CDS dentist: "Prison dentistry really helped me keep up my speed, helped with my diagnosing, as you can imagine there's a high dental need there… I really got involved in doing a lot of endos, extirpations, extractions, lots of restoration work too, which I really enjoyed."


David Drysdale, paediatric specialty registrar at GOSH and former CDS dentist: "The problem I had with the community was that you don't receive much formal training. That's why, I decided to do the masters in paediatric dentistry, it wasn't to help me specialise, it was to do my job… it was on the back of doing the masters, and doing quite well that I decided to specialise…and I would go back [to work as a specialist in the community] in a heartbeat."


Listen on Apple podcastsGoogle podcastsSpotify or search "Chairside" on your chosen podcast platform.





Armed forces doctors and dentists hit by real terms pay cut


We have joined up with the BMA to share our concern over the latest recommendations of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB).


Our Chair, Eddie Crouch, alongside the BMA's Chaand Nagpaul, have together decried the recommendations in the AFPRB's 50th report which includes:


  • a pay freeze for those earning more than £24,000
  • increased charges for accommodation and the current rate of inflation. 

This amounts to a real terms pay cut for the armed forces doctors and dentists who, like their NHS colleagues, have contributed so much and made extraordinary sacrifices in the fight against COVID.


As described by the two Chairs:


"[This] will mean that our members have essentially paid for the role they played in the pandemic out of their own pockets. While the BMA believes the 3% pay award applied to civilian doctors in the NHS (including consultants and salaried GPs) was insufficient, the total lack of recognition of the role of uniformed doctors and dentists can only be regarded as demeaning their efforts.


"The AFPRB report acknowledges the outstanding work of uniformed doctors and dentists, the risks around DMS staffing levels, and the challenges posed through the pandemic. Yet they offer no meaningful recognition for contributions made or threats faced. While described as an independent pay review body, the AFPRB has evidently felt constrained by the Government’s directions and simply accepted their imposed pay restraint, rather than behaving with independence. We engaged with the pay review process in good faith; we leave it feeling our evidence has been ignored."


We will work alongside the BMA to consider what steps should now be taken to ensure our members are compensated for the contributions they make.





Advice: Business continuity planning


Does your practice have business continuity plans? Business continuity planning involves preparing a contingency plan for situations that could seriously affect the long-term survival of your business. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us exactly why they're so important. Our advice will help you to:


  • Identify events that could prevent your practice from opening or operating normally
  • Develop a risk matric to assess the major threats to your practice
  • Identify how to manage a crisis after an event to ensure a swift return to normal services
  • Assess the effectiveness of your plan via testing and training
  • Comply with your NHS requirements (if you hold a contract for services in England).


Members can log in to access this advice today. If you're not yet a member, you can join for this and many other benefits.





Honours and awards 2021 announced


Twenty individuals are being celebrated in the latest round of the prestigious BDA Honours and Awards, for their outstanding achievements, their commitment to the BDA and their work for the dental profession. Recipients come from all sections of the profession, general practice, through to community and hospital dentistry, and across the four nations. We're proud to honour these people and the work they have done.


Roz McMullan Chair of the BDA's Honours and Awards Committee said: "Through these times of immense challenge and change, we are proud to be able to highlight the work of those who have gone above and beyond, making our profession better. We are proud to showcase those who have supported our causes, gone over and above for the profession, and/or given exemplary patient care."