David Cross, Vice Chair of the BDA Scottish Council, gives us an insight into the work done so far to support dentists during the pandemic crisis.
Since the onset of the Coronavirus outbreak, our committees have worked hard to address member concerns and ensure that dentists are kept informed of any developments.
I would like to thank my BDA colleagues for their strong support so far: David McColl (Chair, Scottish Dental Practice Committee), Kenny McDonald (Vice Chair, SDPC), Graham Smith (Chair, Scottish Public Dental Service Committee), Manar Elkhazinder (Scottish Hospital Dentists Reference Group) and Laura Cross (Scotland representative, BDA Principal Executive Committee).
1. We’re pressing for financial support for dental practices
David McColl recently detailed the work of SDPC in helping secure adequate funding to ensure the sustainability of NHS dentistry in Scotland. From early March, when the pandemic started to escalate, David and colleagues had regular contact with the CDO and his team to relay the concerns of dentists, to emphasise the increasing urgency of the situation, and to suggest an equitable solution that would allow NHS practices to remain viable.
The financial measures issued by the Scottish Government on 30 March included SDPC’s suggestion that dentists should receive 80% of the average income from items of service and patient contributions. We are pleased the Government heeded our concerns, and this funding package should help to ensure the sustainability of NHS dentistry in Scotland.
We continue to investigate what other sources of funding may be available to mixed and private practices in Scotland. We’re liaising with colleagues across the UK and seeking clarity around essential issues such as the criteria and process for furloughing staff in mixed practices. We will issue this guidance as soon as we have it.
2. We’re working to support PDS and HDS dentists
Graham Smith and Manar Elkhazinder have been working with colleagues across the UK to provide information for dentists working in the Hospital Dental Service (HDS) and Public Dental Service (PDS)/Community Dental Service (CDS). We have requested a suspension of appraisal and mandatory training during the COVID-19 response. This takes the form of a joint letter from the Chairs of the BDA’s CDS/PDS Committees that has been sent to each of the four countries’ governments. We await a reply.
If you work for the HDS or PDS, you may be deployed elsewhere within the health service as the outbreak progresses. Before you are redeployed, we recommend you review our answers to your frequently asked questions on redeployment (questions 21-25). We realise that this is a stressful time – members should be aware that they have access to our 24-hour counselling service.
If you have an issue and you are employed on national terms and conditions within the PDS, please contact our Employment Relations Officer: email@example.com
Members working under HDS terms and conditions can contact the BMA for employment relations support: 0300 123 1233 (Please have your BDA membership number ready to quote).
3. We’re keeping you up to date with developments
This is a fast-moving situation. We’re working very hard to ensure that you get the most up-to-date information possible. We have added regular Scotland-specific information to the Live updates section of our Coronavirus web pages. We also recommend you review our FAQ and Financial impact pages.
We have responded to dozens of individual members’ queries, and sent out updates to all of our members. An email to each member on 18 March, for example, provided an update on latest guidance, and a further email on 31 March was about the revised NHS financial support.
We are proud of the work we have done on your behalf. We will continue to do everything we can to represent and support dentists at this exceptionally difficult time, and to keep you up to date with the latest developments.
Vice Chair of the BDA Scottish Council
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