There is a plethora of information that is being fed to the UK dental industry at the moment as a consequence of the coronavirus, so we thought it would be a good opportunity to cut through all the proverbial and provide a recent round-up of the latest details coming from the NHS England and BDA:
The NHS England published a letter from Sara Hurley (Chief Dental Officer England) and Matt Neligan (Director of Primary Care and System Transformation) on the 25th March 2020 which provided some degree of clarity on the proposals being put forward by the Government. Here is a summary of the operational changes set out for GDPs:
- All routine, non-urgent dental care including orthodontics should be stopped and deferred until advised otherwise.
- All practices should establish (independently or by collaboration with others) a remote urgent care service, providing telephone triage for their patients with urgent needs
- Urgent cases to be referred to the Local Urgent Dental Care System (although we still await further details on the establishment of these new centres)
- All community outreach activities such as oral health improvement programmes and dental surveys to be stopped.
- All practices to provide up to date information on their websites and telephone messages as well as updating LATs with any changes in practice availability due to staff shortages.
The letter also provided detail on how UDA/UOA performance would be handled, rather vague details on the redeployment of NHS staff as well as an update on personal protective equipment. Full details of ‘Issue 3, Preparedness letter for primary dental care’ can be found here - https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/publication/preparedness-letters-for-dental-care/
The BDA have been very proactive since the start of the pandemic, doing great work with analysing and responding to the information that is being drip-fed through to dental practices and making contact with the relevant authorities within the dental industry to help provide a voice for many dentists and DCPs.
They have set up a dedicated COVID-19 page on their website which provides numerous daily updates on a variety of issues facing the profession. Today the BDA shared:
- A letter that was sent to the GDC requesting a reduction or waiver of this year’s annual registration fee
- COVID-19 risk assessment guidance for members
- A 28-page document provided by the NHS regarding ‘Deploying the clinical dental workforce to support the NHS clinical delivery plan for COVID-19’
- A very useful video from James Goldman, Head of Advice at the BDA regarding the furloughing of staff and the ability for mixed practices to furlough a proportion of their workforce whilst still receiving their NHS payments.
All of the regular updates from the BDA can be found here - https://bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/latest-updates.aspx
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This information is accurate as of 7th April.