Friday 3 April
Which? Looks at what the lockdown means for trading and consumer rights
Consumer watchdog, Which? reiterates government advice and references our advice that dentists they should close their doors for all but emergency cases.
Thursday 2 April
400 dentists offer to help emergency clinics in Northern Ireland
The Belfast Live and Belfast Telegraph covered dentists' response to the HSCB call for 100 dentist volunteers. More than 400 high street dentists in Northern Ireland volunteered to run emergency dental clinics during lockdown, over four times the number requested. Richard Graham, chair of the our NI General Dental Practice Committee, said: "This is a very stressful time for everyone, dental teams included, so we are very proud of colleagues who are in the forefront of finding a solution for people in dental pain. Routine check-ups are off the menu for now, and we want to ensure every patient has access to advice, pain relief and emergency care when they need it."
Oral health inequalities set to widen during the pandemic
Figures recently released by Public Health England on the state of 5-year-olds' oral health in England were given a significant airing in the regional press, including in Leeds, Wigan, Southend and Yorkshire. As well as focusing on local levels of tooth decay and oral health inequalities, they all cited our warning that "grotesque" health inequalities among children in different areas of the country are set to widen as they lose out on free check-ups and school meals during the coronavirus pandemic.
Wednesday 1 April
ITV news highlights gaps in care for oral health emergencies
Lunchtime News on ITV1 and in around 20 ITV1 regional outlets in England highlighted dentists’ and patients’ frustrations at the slow pace of getting clinical centres off the ground to treat patients with emergency care needs. Our Head of Indemnity, Len z pointed out that although NHS England had known for some time that routine dentistry wouldn’t be available for patients because of the high risk environment for patients and staff and the lack of appropriate personal protective equipment, the provision of these new centres was patchy and none (as of yesterday) existed in London. Len advised viewers if they had problems to phone their dental practice, where they would be triaged and advised accordingly. However, he acknowledged that there was a limit to what dentists could treat remotely and said he hoped that the waiting period for patients who require urgent care would be short lived until the emergency centres were established. He pointed out that the BDA was supportive of these centres and were doing their best to assist in their development.
Not available online.
BBC Radio Wales – how, where and what dental care can be accessed
This morning's Breakfast included a comprehensive interview with Tom Bysouth, our chair of the Welsh General Dental Practice Committee. Tom told listeners why routine dentistry has been placed on pause, and how the public would be able to access advice or urgent care if required for the duration of the Covid-19 pandemic. He emphasised that dental practices are available to provide advice over the phone and will help their patients as best they can to manage their symptoms, or where necessary refer them to the emergency treatment clinics which, he explained, are at varying states of readiness. He pointed out that the dental teams in these clinics would be wearing enhanced personal protective equipment to ensure the safety of staff and patients alike. Tom anticipates that there will be extra pressure on dental practices once the pandemic is over dealing with the backlog of 'saved' up problems on an already over-stretched service.
Listen in from approx. 44 mi
BBC Radio Devon – access urgent care hard for socially disadvantaged
Ian Mills, Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) and our spokesperson in Devon, was a guest yesterday afternoon on Janet Kipling programme. Ian said that the local dental committee and NHS commissioners were working hard to get the 15 urgent care centres up and running for the south west. He drew attention to oral health inequalities and how the most disadvantaged are also likely to struggle to get transport to centres if they are located great distances from where they live in Devon and Cornwall.
Not yet available online.
ITV West Country - from Exeter to Birmingham for emergency treatment
A 32-week pregnant woman was forced to drive from Exeter to Birmingham for an emergency dental appointment after suffering from severe toothache. Denise Hill made the 320 mile round trip after failing to get an appointment with her dentist, or any other in the South West after she discovered that her local A&E was unable to treat her.
Ian Mills was interviewed for this article said he was deeply disappointed to hear about this woman's experience and said she fell into the category of patients that haven't yet being catered for during the coronavirus crisis. We highlighted concerns over PPE, and lamented the weeks that "have been lost that should have been spent setting up a properly equipped emergency dental service". The ITV articles also reproduced our advice for patients during the lockdown period.
Tuesday 31 March
BBC Radio Ulster – limitations on dental care explained
Richard Graham, chair of the BDA Northern Ireland’s Dental Practice Committee, provided a similar wide-ranging ‘state of play’ interview on several BBC outlets last night, including the Stephen McCauley Show on BBC’s Radio Ulster and Radio Foyle. Richard spoke about first-aid dentistry that can be accessed at the moment to keep patients comfortable and out of acute pain. He outlined the principles behind triaging patients, and referred to the three As that would be provided, advice, analgesia, or antibiotics, where required. Richard pointed out that treatments would be limited, and provided examples of what cases the emerging emergency care clinics are being set up to treat, such as child knocking a tooth out, somebody with extreme swelling, bruising and maxillofacial trauma. He anticipates that around five centres will be opened in NI, the first in Belfast, with dentists drawn from 3-400 practices from across Northern Ireland. Richard also referred to the financial difficulties for dentists with no income now at all from either NHS or private care and they were awaiting to hear what mitigating package would be provided for practitioners.
Listen from around 1.45
Monday 30 March
Mick Armstrong expresses anger that dentists are losing out in failed bailout
The Daily Star warned its readers that thousands of dental practices could close in the coming months because dentists say an NHS financial safety net is unable to protect them during the lockdown. Mick Armstrong, the BDA’s chair said: ‘Thousands of practices could go to the wall. A largely self-employed workforce has been offered few crumbs of comfort from Government.’ England has about 27,500 dentists. Four-fifths do NHS work, but many subsidise it with private cases. Most dentists work as self-employed ‘associates’ in surgeries. They will be eligible for the self-employment bailout only if they earn less than £50,000, but the average income is £60,000.
Mumsnet – advice for severe toothache and no prospect of treatment
Although t concludes that our guidance is very wise on where dental practices stand during this lockdown phase, it invites suggestions from readers as to what people with persistent toothache can do when they are unable to eat or drink anything, except water.
Sunday 20 March
BDA advocates voluntary redeployment and protection for high risk staff
We’re quoted in the Mail on Sunday saying that volunteering should be on a voluntary basis, and called for protections for any staff at higher risk.
Focus must now be on developing emergency dental services
Dentists are dealing with cracked teeth and other emergencies by webcam, the Sunday Telegraph informed its readers. Patients now cannot see their dentists in person because of the risk of passing on coronavirus. Emergency centres have not yet been sent up, so for the time being, painful problems are having to be treated by phone calls and webcam, with advice being given on home care and painkillers prescribed. Mick Armstrong, BDA chair said: “Routine dental care as we know it is over for now. Real energy must be devoted to developing emergency services.”
Friday 27 March
Public with dental problems should not to go to A&E
Several news bulletins on BBC Radio Tees yesterday and today, including BBC Tees Breakfast, carried an interview with our spokesperson and board member, Paul Woodhouse. Paul emphasised that patients should not attend A&E, they are not set up to provide dental treatment, he said, and people should phone NHS 111 to find out where they could access emergency dental care.
Listen from around 1min 52 secs
BDA warns government that the profession should not be forced to choose between NHS and other financial support
In response to an announcement that dentists with NHS contracts would be redeployed elsewhere or would lose their NHS pay, we stated that the profession stands ready and willing to support the national effort to fight this pandemic with any workable emergency plan. Chair Mick Armstrong insisted that this must be on a voluntary basis only, and called for protection for any staff who are at higher risk.
BBC news - Coronavirus: Dentists to help staff new hospitals
The Health Business website highlighted the difficulty that practice owners face if they continue to receive NHS funding, they will not be eligible for assistance under the Chancellor's scheme for small businesses. Chair Mick Armstrong explains: "By asking practices to choose between the NHS and other government support, it is inevitable many will fall through the gap. We urgently need government to offer flexibility over the issue."
The Times - Coronavirus: Bailout will compensate 2m self‑employed workers
BDA calls for appropriate PPE, more testing and financial support
The Telegraph today reported the suspension of all routine care during the lockdown phase of the coronavirus pandemic. Dave Cottam said “dentists were crying out for proper protective equipment, for more coronavirus testing, and financial support for the self-employed.“
Thursday 26 March
Regional press, including BBC, continues to inform the public about restrictions on dental care
Kent Online informs readers that all non-urgent NHS dentist appointments are now postponed to halt the spread of coronavirus, while NHS England ‘ordered’ that new cases will be assessed by telephone rather than in person. Our Chair Mick Armstrong said: "Routine dental care as we know it is over for now. For the safety of dentists and their patients this is the right approach.”
Wednesday 25 March
ITV News highlights stark financial reality for dentists – private and NHS
Dave Cottam, BDA chair of the general dental practice committee, relayed the concerns of dentists across the UK when he told viewers that – in his mixed practice, NHS and private – he didn’t know where money would be coming from.
BDA urges NHS England to agree financial support for practices
Chief Executive, Martin Woodrow, quoted as saying that ‘the BDA had been in touch with NHS England yesterday urging the organisation to agree financial support for practices’.
The Sun and the Huff Post also cited our advice on what dental care the public could expect to access during the COVID-19 outbreak. “Given the uncertainty and reflecting the practical consequences of the current official advice, we recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only”.
“A safety-first approach” as dental practices shut down for all except emergency appointments
Around 200 news outlets right across the UK, from the local press in Somerset to Stirling, from Belfast to Banbury, and Guernsey to Gloucester, all featured an update from the BDA on the current state of play on dentistry in the respective locations. These noted, where relevant, that the Welsh and Scottish governments recommended the suspension of routine dentistry, and in Northern Ireland all aerosol generating procedures were suspended from this Monday onwards, while guidance in England is currently being updated, according to the NHS England website.
Chair, Mick Armstrong, warned that dental practices had now reached the point where routine treatment in dental practices could not be provided any longer. He pointed out that in the absence of clear guidance many surgeries across England have already shut down or moved to deal with emergencies only. He also noted that dentists were still waiting for concrete plans for a dedicated emergency dental service, properly equipped to deal with cases. Our patients need to see a system put in place in the days ahead."
South Wales Guardian
BBC Radio stations cite BDA's update on limitations to dental care during COVID-19 outbreak
BBC Radio stations in Derby, Berkshire, Jersey, Manchester and Lancashire all cited our updates in their news bulletins as advising the public that dental practices would no longer be able to provide routine dental care during the COVID-19 outbreak and treatments, where available, would be limited to emergence care. Listeners heard that aerosol generating procedures created a high risk environment for the dental team and patients alike.
Tuesday 24 March
Sunak under pressure to save Britain's 5m self-employed workers
The Telegraph quotes Birmingham dentist Dave Cottam, chair of the BDA’s general dental practice committee, says dentists are crying out for proper protective equipment, more coronavirus testing, and financial support for the self-employed.
“Practices risk collapsing and staff being laid off. That will be a huge problem.”
Daily Telegraph 1
Daily Telegraph 2
Army may build field hospitals in conference halls, while NHS frontline staff plead for more PPE
The Times quotes our advice to dentists “Given the uncertainty and reflecting the practical consequences of the current official advice, we recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only.”
Toothache patients struggling after dentists move to emergency treatment only
The Camden New Journal notes our advice to clinics to stay open for advice and emergency treatment partly due to a shortage of protective equipment. “Dentists have been told they must wear full face shields, masks and goggles while working patients and to "avoid aerosol generating procedures wherever possible". Routine work on "vulnerable groups" has, in turn, been restricted to protect staff from infection. Our statement said: "As things stand, the chance of advanced PPE equipment, protocols and training being widely available to avoid this seems unlikely, with resources appropriately being directed to intensive care." "We recommend that practices cease routine dentistry and operate an advice and emergency service only.”
Big drop in free dental care as thousands of innocent people face fines
Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard features Charlotte Waite, chair of our community dental services committee. “NHS dentistry will see a huge drop during the pandemic”, but added that the fall in free care was "entirely man-made". She added: "The system by which many often vulnerable patients claim is a nightmare by design, where mistakes come with a £100 penalty charge.
"It's left hundreds of thousands of innocent people facing fines and encouraged millions more to miss out on care”.
Monday 23 March
Is it still ok go to the dentist?
BBC Radio Scotland Mornings programme was devoted to questions from the public about the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. The questions were answered by Linda d, Professor of Public Health at University of Edinburgh, who advised listeners to check the BDA’s website for the latest advice on dentistry. She added that dentists were being asked to exercise their clinical judgement, that practices were not closed and there were really important reasons for this, such as people with acute care needs.
Listen from around 34 minutes.
This was also broadcast on BBC Radios Shetland and Orkney today.
LBC News: Dental practices need financial support now or some will close after the pandemic, BDA warns
BDA vice chair, Eddie Crouch, was interviewed by LBC News presenter, Matt Stadlen, on Friday night, who announced that the latest guidance may spell the end of most routine dental care. Eddie highlighted that it had been a very difficult time for surgeries over the last few weeks as lots and lots of appointments had been cancelled at the same time that some staff were having to take time off to self-isolate. Dentists found themselves in a terrible position last week as different guidance had been issued in Scotland and Wales to England, and England wasn’t updating its guidance as regularly. Colleagues were in a real quandary as to what we should be doing, Eddie said, and we are all quite concerned about making sure that we are not going to harm our staff and our patients. He also expressed concern that unless NHS dental practices were financially supported then after this epidemic is over, he predicts that quite a few of them will have to close.
The interview with Eddie was aired again in several news bulletins on LBC on Saturday.
Sunday Times: NHS targets drive dentists to keep feet on the gas
An article in the Sunday Times highlighting the difficulties facing dentistry in the corona outbreak included commentary from our chair, Mick Armstrong, who said that whether dentists were providing NHS or private care, the biggest challenge was keeping this service afloat. “We need a safety net, but we have been offered little more than warm words,” he said.
Not available online.