Dr Caroline Seddon, Director of BDA Wales, details the Welsh response to the challenges of COVID-19.
These are worrying times and we want to assure you the BDA is here to help. We understand that there are a great many issues that need answers and that the situation is changing very rapidly. We are updating our website several times a day to keep you posted on breaking news, answers to your FAQs and links to official guidance. We are open for business - albeit we are now working virtually - and thanks to technology we can do this effectively.
This week has seen some very significant developments in Wales, largely due to the strong leadership from our CDO, Dr Colette Bridgman. We have been in regular contact with Dr Bridgman and are reassured by the strong position that she has secured with the Welsh Government for business continuity for dentistry.
Funding models for practices with NHS contracts are being developed in consultation with us. We have been assured that the last two weeks in March are covered by a 4% waiver of practice UDA target. This means if you have completed the requisite UDAs up to mid-March you will not be subject to clawback.
This sends a very strong message to dentists in Wales that the Welsh Government values dentistry. It also recognizes the challenges that practices are facing. I trust this gives some assurance in the short term. The rest of the UK hasn’t enjoyed this level of support to date.
As the consultation with Welsh Government continues we will update you further on continuity funding. In return for NHS funds, dentists and DCPs may be called upon in due course to step up and give support in primary care and secondary settings to meet the increasing need as the disease takes hold in the population. Dental teams are well-versed in the stringent levels of sterilization and cleaning required, and dentists can take medical histories. The duties are likely to be varied and cannot all be anticipated at this stage.
The practice situation is rapidly changing in terms of patient attendance and staff absences as individuals start to self-isolate in increasing numbers. The
guidance from Dr Bridgman is clear that only limited work can continue in the normal GDS setting at this time with the elimination of aerosol-producing procedures. The amber warning guidance applies equally to private practices.
These are stressful times. If you need personal support now or at any time later, don’t forget that the BDA has a
member support service.
bi-lingual public information poster has also been provided for Welsh practices.
I would like to sign off by recognizing the BDA Wales committee members' ongoing efforts. These folks are unpaid volunteers who speak on your behalf. They are associates, practices owners and community dental officers with exactly the same worries and concerns as everyone else and are working under the same increasing pressures. Yet they have given up many hours to work collectively to formulate communications and policies for how we tackle the very challenging conditions we all now face. Together we are stronger, perhaps like no other time in recent memory.
Dr Caroline Seddon
Director BDA Wales
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