In response to our calls to commission a roadmap to ease COVID restrictions, all four UK Chief Dental Officers have issued a rare joint statement, committing to a review.
All four UK Chief Dental Officers share their profession’s ambition for increasing access which needs to be done safely and effectively, which is why there is now going to be a further review of the UK-wide infection control guidance in the light of the current science and prevalence.
We have welcomed this swift and positive response.
A year has passed since face-to-face care resumed in England. The context has changed, and what we require across the UK is a safe and pragmatic approach to reviewing restrictions that recognises the current context.
This looks like welcome progress. Restrictions have left millions struggling to secure care, and thousands of front-line staff looking for the exit. We need to see a timely, comprehensive review that acknowledges the specific issues facing dentistry. It must assess the need for continuing with policies that have halved access to our services.
We have reiterated the need for a review of the factors underlying the current restrictions facing dentistry – a role where we believe the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has a proven track record.
This work must cover both the science and the prevailing conditions. The world has changed since the first lockdown and the progress achieved by the vaccination programme needs to be factored in, alongside any emerging risks from new variants.
It is not the BDA’s place to design a new SOP ourselves. It falls to leading experts drawn from a range of stakeholder groups to review the evidence, and balance the risks facing dental teams and patients, to underpin a new way forward.
Delivering for members
The spur for this recent work has been BDA members, who have provided compelling evidence we have taken to the press and to parliamentarians. MPs on both sides of the house were unanimous in their calls for a fresh start for this service in two Parliamentary debates in May.
We have stressed the risks we now face are not simply from the virus, but from a catastrophic fall in patient access, widening oral health inequality, and threats to the long-term sustainability of UK dental services.
Our members are seeking a roadmap. We will continue pressing on your behalf.