Friday 14 May 2021
Could you influence the direction of the BDA?
We have a vacancy for a UK-wide member to serve on
our board until December 2023. Our board has overall responsibility for the control and direction of the policy and affairs of the BDA and its members are the directors of the association. We would expect you to devote around 20 days per year, and you'll receive an annual payment of £15,000.
nomination form or contact:
firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss the role further.
Mental Health Awareness: Help manage your wellbeing
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual event for the whole of the UK to focus on achieving good mental health.
Please do seek help when you need it.
The following resources and services are available to dentists across the UK:
Survey: Feedback wanted from GDPs in England
We are gathering fresh intelligence on how the pandemic is continuing to impact on our members. From your morale to the future of standard operating procedures, your feedback will shape the case we make to government.
If you're a practice owner or associate, working in NHS, mixed or private practice in England then please
complete this five-minute survey.
Risks from using unregulated online providers of aligners
Our warning about the safety concerns for people buying orthodontic aligners online without seeing a dentist, was picked up by Sky News yesterday.
guidelines from the GDC acknowledge vital principles long advocated by the BDA that orthodontic patients need to be fully assessed by a dentist, that direct dentist-to-patient interaction – the basis for informed consent - is essential, and that patients must know the name and registration number of the dentist responsible for their care.
However, the guidance does not offer any clarity on what sanctions the GDC might utilise and how the regulator backs up its assumption that such models of care are "safe for many people.” We are concerned that patients need to be fully assessed by a dentist before doing any orthodontic treatment.
The Sky News segment included an interview with orthodontist Neil Patel, who warned that the risks from these include gum recession, incorrect movements which can result in a traumatic bite and potential damage to teeth, and poor aesthetic results.
Associate dentists - managing your financial and tax affairs
Are you an associate dentist? If so, consider attending our upcoming webinar for
assistance and advice on how best to manage accounts and tax affairs. This online event is free to members and will take place from 19:30 - 20:30 on Thursday 17 June 2021.
Register today to:
- Evaluate the best ways to organise your accounts
- Learn how to use essential accounting software to organise and streamline your affairs
- Discuss deductions available for associates
- Understand your accounts and tax bill.
Thursday 13 May 2021
Northern Ireland: HSCB message on Lateral Flow Tests for primary care staff
Yesterday the Health and Social Care Board wrote to all primary care dentists to update them on
the supply of lateral flow tests for primary care staff.
The letter said the following:
"The Department of Health, Public Health Agency and HSCB have endorsed the use of LFTs as a useful tool which health care workers find reassuring and one which offers a beneficial adjunct to protect your teams in the fight against COVID-19 and will be used as agreed with MHRA.
“This type of testing aims to find asymptomatic cases of COVID-19 by testing patient facing staff twice a week with staff self-testing at home before work and uploading results to a
digital platform in the same way as staff and pupils in educational settings.
“LFTs have not been approved by MHRA for the testing of patients prior to attending for treatment and as such should not be used to place patients in the low risk pathway as outlined in the GDS Operational Guidance.”
Further information is available in the
FAQs on the PHA website.
Northern Ireland: Wellness resource created for the dental team
Now, more than ever, we need to take care of ourselves, each other, our families, our teams and our patients.
Review this free wellness resource for dental teams in Northern Ireland.
The legal case against the practice owner
The dental profession was rocked by the recent news that a practice owner in Wales was found to be liable for damages and costs - more than two decades after his retirement.
Head of BDA Indemnity, Len D'Cruz highlights why some indemnity policies will not keep you safe from claims and damages.
"It's a sad situation that we learn from another's misfortune. But we should all consider the need for robust contractual cover - preferably one which respects the pleasures and pitfalls of modern dentistry.
"BDA policyholders have the peace of mind of knowing that the policy covers all practice owners as they have vicariously liability covered."
Environmental mitigation of AGPs
Following the publication of the Rapid Review of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme is continuing to develop and update their COVID-19 resources. To help inform this work, they are asking the profession to
take part in a short survey before Thursday 27 May.
Wednesday 12 May 2021
NHS dentistry and oral health update: Mouth cancer awareness
The latest edition of the
NHS dentistry and oral health bulletin was published last week, with CDO England Sara Hurley and Peter Johnson, NHS England's National Clinical Director for Cancer, bringing together useful resources and advice for dental professionals on mouth cancer.
The bulletin features the BDA/Cancer Research UK
oral cancer toolkit, a resource to help dental health professionals identify and refer possible cases of oral cancer, and includes a CPD quiz with three hours of verifiable CPD.
Ventilation: the latest information for dentists
The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has recently published a
summary of currently available information on ventilation. This has been compiled from several key publicly available documents developed by other organisations and expert groups, with a focus on advice and information that has relevance for dental facilities.
Please note that this document is not guidance but provides information about ventilation under several headings.
Northern Ireland: Further opportunity to take advantage of Revenue Grant Scheme
GDPs in Northern Ireland will have a further opportunity to claim unspent Revenue Grant Scheme funding.
NI GDPs have so far claimed £1.2m of the £1.5m Revenue Grant Scheme established in March to support increased patient throughput.
To ensure all available grant funding is spent, HSCB is offering those practices who only submitted invoices up to the value of their initial allocation an opportunity to submit any further invoices they have that meet the criteria. Any practices that have not yet made an eligible claim, may also have the opportunity to do so. The deadline to submit any further invoices is Friday 21 May.
Please check your emails for a communication from
Mental Health Awareness Week: Help managing stress
This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and we encourage you to avail of the
resources and services that are available to support dentists and their teams with stress management. Included in our lists are both UK-wide services and those specific to England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and specific resources for issues such as suicide prevention, addiction and bereavement.
You don't have to be a BDA member to access most of these resources, so please do take a look at what's available to you and consider reaching out. If you are a BDA member, you can also access our
24/7 confidential counselling service. Your mental health matters. If you are experiencing stress, please do reach out.
Tuesday 11 May 2021
Northern Ireland: Clarity sought on future funding arrangements
written to the Department of Health calling for an end to uncertainty around PPE funding arrangements, and FSS.
We are calling for current Financial Support Scheme arrangements to remain in place until the end of 2021/22 to provide practitioners with some certainty. We have also requested the establishment of a working group to begin formal discussions on GDS contractual arrangements from 2022/23 onwards.
Our letter seeks an update on a number of other outstanding issues: out-of-hours cover; maternity pay; SDR uplift and backpay; DoH £500 payments to dental teams.
The Queen's Speech
Her Majesty the Queen has earlier today opened a new session of Parliament.
In the traditional Queen's Speech, she set out the Government's legislative programme for the coming months, which includes a number of pieces of legislation with implications for dentists.
The Health and Social Care Bill - expected to be published and start its passage through the House of Commons shortly - contains
wide-ranging changes shifting focus in the NHS from competition to integration. While we will only know the detail when we see the legislation, it is anticipated that the responsibility for commissioning of primary NHS dental care will move from NHS England to Integrated Care Systems, with possible pooling of budgets across primary care. The bill will also include changes to professional regulation, and measures to centralise and facilitate new water fluoridation schemes.
We will be scrutinising these proposals in detail and we are working closely with the Government, civil servants, Parliamentarians and other stakeholders to ensure the proposed reforms secure the best deal for members and the millions you treat.
Other bills due to be published in the coming months - including the Employment Bill and the Environment Bill - will also have implications for dental practices, and we will be keeping a close eye on them and challenging any measures which are not in the best interest of members.
Continuing to support you during the COVID-19 pandemic
We know that this year has been incredibly hard for dentists; therefore, I wanted to take a moment to applaud you for your efforts during a time of tremendous uncertainty.
We have been working around the clock to provide you with information, support, and resources through this page.
We developed resources to help you safely return to work. We gave advice on individual pay disputes and uncertainty, and we stood by you and advocated on your behalf to Parliament.
We will continue to fight for you during this time, so you get the support and resources you deserve. Thank you for continuing to support us.
Northern Ireland: Closure of the HSCB is an opportunity to move dentistry forward
The Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) will likely be dissolved from March next year. In our written submission to the Health Committee, we are calling for this unique opportunity to be seized in a way that enables dentistry and oral health to move forward.
The Board's closure will mean that dental advisors will come under the direction of the Department of Health. This will have important implications for how dentistry is administered.
Getting this right is a precursor to seeing progress on the many reforms we need to see in dentistry.
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Monday 10 May 2021
Wales: The Senedd election
As anticipated, Welsh Labour retained power in the Senedd in last week's Welsh Parliamentary elections.
As we face the unprecedented backlog of unmet dental need caused by the pandemic, we look forward to working constructively with the next Labour administration as they deliver on their election pledge to improve access to dental services.
While Labour secured the largest number of seats in the election, the party ended up one seat short of an outright majority. Mark Drakeford - expected to continue as First Minister - is reported to plan on forming a minority government and working with other parties on a ‘case-by-case basis’. This means MSs from across the Welsh Parliament will be able to exert pressure over specific issues and have some influence over the policy making and legislative process.
A number of candidates from different parties who had pledged their support for the BDA Wales election manifesto have won seats in the Senedd. We will be keeping in contact with them - as well as reaching out to other newly elected MSs - and work closely with them and the new Government to improve dentistry and reduce oral health inequalities in Wales.
Top of our agenda for these discussions will be getting commitments from ministers on dental contract reform, and also pushing for the resumption and expansion of the Designed to Smile programme. Dentistry in Wales needs a fresh start after COVID; the work starts here! As ever, please contact
email@example.com if you have any questions about our parliamentary work.
England: Seeking a change to the SOPs
We have been pressing the office of the CDO England over what might trigger a change in Standard Operating Procedures, as general practitioners are finding adherence to it challenging.
We feel that whatever is in place needs to be more dynamic than it is currently and are asking questions along the lines of: “Will change be driven by the R-number, the double vaccination of patients and providers or broader Government policy?”.
From 21 June, as it stands, there will probably be discrepancies between conditions and requirements in dental surgeries and other places welcoming the public.
There is certainly recognition that the SOP needs to be rationalised and that the CDO’s office, PHE and the FGDP need to be addressing this soon. That said, a large number of people (for example, practice receptionists) will probably be keen to retain certain elements which have been introduced eg social distancing and screens, so it will be a difficult path to negotiate.
You can be assured that we will be looking to reduce any unnecessary burdens on practices as soon as possible (for example the wearing of gowns and visors etc). However, such issues are mandated by high-level publications – and rely on advice by such organisations as SDCEP - which last week stated:
“Considering the current situation and the lack of new higher certainty evidence, the agreed positions and other conclusions within the AGP Rapid Review remain unchanged ie that staff and patients should continue to adhere to the precautions specified in current national guidance”.
SDCEP: Main points from the recently updated Rapid Review
Recently, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) issued an update of the Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry - A Rapid Review. To date, no new higher certainty evidence has been identified that changes the conclusions of the Rapid Review.
The Working Group emphasises the importance of staff and patients continuing to adhere to the various precautions specified in current national guidance.
The main points to take away from the updated Rapid Review are:
- No new higher certainty evidence has been identified that changes the conclusions of the Rapid Review.
- The agreed positions and other conclusions within the Rapid Review remain unchanged.
- Staff and patients should continue to adhere to the precautions specified in current national guidance, which includes:
- Regularly reviewing all stages of the patient journey to assess adherence to procedures and any improvements required.
- Rigorous use of face coverings/masks and application of social distancing measures in clinical and non-clinical areas, including staff rooms.
- Use of the correct level of PPE as identified in the PHE Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidance (see below)
- Individual patient risk assessment to determine the appropriate care pathway as described in the above
- Effective ventilation in both clinical and non-clinical areas.
- Screening questions should be consistent with current triage criteria, including quarantine requirements following international travel
Further points from the Infection Prevention Control (IPC) guidance on High, Medium and Low risk care pathways:
- For a patient to be in the Low risk pathway, a negative PCR test is required, and the patient must have followed self isolation advice (there is a trial in East of England going on at the moment on this)
- A lateral flow test is not sufficient unless the patient is part of a regular formal NHS testing plan and remains negative and asymptomatic.
- While vaccination will provide protection for the vaccinated individual, this is not 100% and it is also unknown whether vaccination prevents onward transmission; as such, the same precautions are required for both vaccinated and unvaccinated patients and staff.
Scotland: The Holyrood election and next steps for dentistry
As was widely expected, the Scottish National Party won last week's Scottish elections.
We stand ready to work with the SNP as they deliver their pledges which could fundamentally change the way dentistry is delivered in Scotland. These include a commitment to abolish NHS dental charges and a pledge to work with us to develop a new funding arrangement for NHS dentistry. We will be seeking assurances that any loss of Patient Charge Revenue would not lead to a reduction in overall funding for our service. With the pandemic causing a massive backlog of unmet dental care need, and oral health inequalities set to widen further, it is vital that NHS dentistry is properly funded and sustainable.
In the immediate term, now that pre-election restrictions on policy discussions have been lifted, we are keen to pursue a number of outstanding issues with the Scottish Government.
- practice activity measurement as a basis for COVID support funding
- details around increased maternity pay
- payment for new or moving associates and locums
- funding for and guidance on ventilation
- payment for COVID vaccinators
- continued PPE supply post-June.
We also want to discuss a more sustainable intermediate funding model that will allow practices to plan their finances, and issues affecting the Public Dental Service and Hospital Dental Service.
While last week’s elections in Scotland saw the SNP secure a comfortable victory at Holyrood, the party fell one seat short of an overall majority. If they choose not to form a formal coalition with another party, but instead rule as a minority government as they have for the last five years, MSPs from across the Scottish Parliament will be able to have an impact on the policy making and legislative process. A number of candidates who had pledged their support for the
BDA election manifesto and promised to ‘bridge the gap’ on oral health inequalities have been successful in their bids to become MSPs.
We look forward to working with them in the coming months, and hope they will help us keep dentistry high on the new Government’s agenda.
Northern Ireland: A new strategy for tackling oral cancer
The stark reality of oral cancer in Northern Ireland requires immediate action - starting with a joined up cancer and oral health strategy.
In a new blog, Gerry McKenna explores what you need to know about head and neck cancers in Northern Ireland.
"Tragically, most patients are currently presenting with late stage cancer. If we are to prevent more needless suffering and increasing morbidity rates, we must take immediate action."
Mental Health Awareness Week: Confidential counselling and emotional support
As we move into Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to remind our members that you do have access to our comprehensive confidential service, Health Assured.
Health Assured is designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health, and general wellbeing. Members can access the helpline 24/7, 365 days a year. Support includes:
- Life support: Unlimited access to counselling for emotional problems and a pathway to structured telephone counselling for you or your dependents and for you face-to-face counselling sessions at your convenience.
- Legal information: Advice for you on any issues that cause anxiety or distress including debt management, accountancy, lawsuits, consumer disputes, property or neighbour disputes.
- Bereavement support: Health Assured offers qualified and experienced counsellors who can help with grief and related stress plus a team of legal advisors to help with legal issues.
- Medical information: Qualified nurses are on hand to offer advice on a range of medical or health related issues. They can't diagnose but can offer a sympathetic ear and practical information and advice.
- CBT online: We recognise the value of self-help tools in dealing with a range of issues, which is why we have a range of CBT self-help modules, informative factsheets and invaluable advice videos from leading qualified counsellors.