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Updates from week commencing 14 February 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 18 February 2022

15:49


Scotland: Updated BDA fees guide


On 1 February, the Scottish Government made changes to the Statement of Dental Renumeration (SDR), introducing a higher examination fee for adults and children, as well as an extension of the Childsmile programme to include older children.


To reflect these changes, we have updated the BDA Fees Guide. This is a useful document to assist practices, summarising the most frequently used codes and charges listed within the SDR.


Although higher fees are welcome, we understand that many dentists have very limited capacity to increase examinations and there are also many more fees within the SDR which are unsustainable (extractions and denture repairs) and need to be increased.


We have made these issues clear to the Scottish Government, asked for the methodology they use to determine fees, and stressed that they should discuss proposals at an early stage to consider dentists' feedback. 




13:38


Wales: NHS GDS contractual requirements for 2022-23         


We understand the emergency legislation that has governed NHS dentistry contractual arrangements for the last two years will not be applicable in the new financial year.


Indications are that the proposals for the new financial year will be conducted as an opportunity to restart GDS programme reform using action learning principles. We will be seeking details on how practices can be protected from the potential risks of taking on and testing such terms of their contract, versus the risks of reverting to a UDA-based contract. 


As discussions around GDS programme reform continue, we will ensure your voices are heard and keep you updated.




09:31


Lords argue dentists should not be border guards 


The House of Lords has debated a series of amendments we put forward to the Nationality and Borders Bill. These amendments aim to curb the use of dental age checks for undocumented migrants.


Amendments we drafted – tabled by Baroness Lister of Burtersett and supported by Peers across the House – will strengthen the safeguards around the use of dental X-ray age checks. They will ensure any scientific method used for determining age has to first be deemed both accurate and ethical by the relevant dental, medical and scientific bodies, and that migrants would not suffer consequences for refusing to undergo radiographic age tests. 


We hope our amendments will be further debated and voted on at Report Stage next month as we continue to campaign against the use of radiation for non-clinical purposes.




Thursday 17 February 2022

15:56


Northern Ireland: The road to rebuilding NHS dentistry


In her recent blog, Ciara Gallagher, Chair of the Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, tells us about the work being done to reform and secure the future of NHS dentistry in Northern Ireland. 


The past few years have been an unprecedented era in the history of general dental services in Northern Ireland, with persistent, ever evolving, and complex challenges impacting us in a way that could not have been anticipated prior to the beginning of 2020.


"One thing is sure; we cannot return to the underfunded treadmill with all its adverse consequences. We hope that the proposed activity-based enhancement system would lead into the newly reformed GDS with a new contract and additional funding."





12:03


NHS contracts England: exceptional circumstances and associates


In January, NHS England published an update setting out exceptional circumstances arrangements to offer protection to practices if patient care is lost as a result of COVID-19 related staff absence. If practices can provide proof that patient care has been lost because of staff absence, then any 'lost activity' will be manually credited to the contractor's year end performance position and will be considered delivered activity. These arrangements run from 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022 and are in addition to the usual adverse events (force majeure) process.


Contractors are expected to notify their commissioner within five working days of an absence. Any retrospective claims relating to the period before the update publication, going back to the start of December, needed to be submitted by the end of January. 


The ability for practices to claim for lost sessions in these circumstances has raised questions about how payments to associates and practice staff should be impacted. We have made some changes to our associate side agreement for quarter four 2021/22 to deal with this situation. Our advice is that if a practice is successful in making a claim, then they should credit the lost activity to the associate in line with their standard contractual provisions. Members can access our associate side agreement here .




10:19


Library: eBooks to support your wellbeing 


Our online library offers a wide range of eBook titles, including wellness books that can help you take care of your mental and physical health. Read:


If you are experiencing stress at work, we also encourage you to make use of the UK-wide resources available to help you manage stress. Whether you want advice, counselling or simply a listening ear, there are many services available to support your mental health and wellbeing.




Wednesday 16 February 2022

15:27

Health charities urge Prime Minister: Don't U-turn on children's health


The Obesity Health Alliance[, of which the BDA is a member, has today issued a warning to the Prime Minister, urging him to stand strong under pressure by sticking to new laws which could protect children from obesity and dental decay.


The warning comes after reports indicate that the Prime Minister and his new policy chief, Andrew Griffith MP, are being heavily lobbied by the advertising industry and multinational food companies to delay and dilute incoming new laws set to restrict multi-buy promotions on some foods high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) in shops and ban junk food giants from advertising online and before 9pm on TV.


These new laws are due to be implemented in medium and large retail outlets from October 2022, with TV and online advertising bans coming into effect from January 2023. 


OHA warns the Prime Minister that it's vital to stick to these new measures if the Government is going to realise its targets of halving childhood obesity by 2030, narrowing the gap in healthy life expectancy, and tackling the NHS backlog.


We are very concerned that the Government may u-turn on vital new policies to restrict unhealthy food marketing. We have been vocal in supporting the new laws to protect children from junk food ads and ensure children's oral health is safeguarded.




14:40


BDA Good Practice: our quality assurance scheme


Do you own or work for a dental practice operating in the United Kingdom and want to learn more about BDA Good Practice?

 

Our quality assurance scheme allows its members to communicate to patients an ongoing commitment to working to standards of good practice on professional and legal responsibilities. Members have access to advice and practice resources, exclusive courses to help grow a confident team, marketing materials to promote your practice, templates to help you engage with your patient base and to obtain positive reviews and much more. 

 

Subscribe to our mailing list, to learn more about the scheme or contact goodpractice@bda.org and someone from the team will get in touch. 




09:58


Survey: Dental tourism – an upward trend? 


We are working with the BBC to understand the scale and impact of dental tourism. We know dentists and their teams are facing unprecedented challenges delivering patient care, and we want to understand the potential burdens of treatment for dental problems arising from treatment overseas.


We are seeking feedback from dentists across the UK. Please complete this three-minute survey to share your views.




Tuesday 15 February 2022

14:16


England: Returning from abroad


People who have travelled to England from another country are required to adhere to national entry and self-isolation requirements and follow relevant guidance.


They do not need to quarantine when they arrive in England, but if they are not fully vaccinated, they need to:


  • take a COVID-19 test – to be taken in the two days before you travel to England
  • book and pay for a COVID-19 PCR test – to be taken after you arrive in England any time after you arrive and before the end of Day 2 at the latest.

Obviously, if the test result is positive or unclear, they must self-isolate.


In addition, unlike the general population, fully-vaccinated healthcare workers should take a lateral flow test just before the start of their first day back at work and should only return to work if this test result is negative.


Assuming it is, they may then resume the recommended regular asymptomatic testing; otherwise, they need to isolate in line with the English guidance.




12:07


Northern Ireland: Operational guidance remains the same

Following the announcement by the NI Health Minister that the final remaining covid restrictions are being removed and replaced by guidance from today, members of the public are asking if dentistry in Northern Ireland can return to its pre-pandemic form in terms of regular check-ups being offered.

At this time, the Operational Guidance remains the same - what has changed is the legal enforcement of any public health advice.  

The Chief Dental Officer’s understanding is that the wearing of face coverings in Health and Social care settings is “strongly encouraged”. Indeed, the CDO is keen that dental practices continue to use the mitigations as best as they can, by asking patients to continue to wear face coverings. 

In the coming days, the Public Health Agency advice section will be updated for all healthcare settings – including social distancing requirements. We will keep you updated.




09:51


NHS dentistry: Winning the argument for reform


Thanks to our members MPs are now pressing the government for urgent change. In his recent blog, Shawn Charlwood covers what you need to know following last week's major parliamentary debate on NHS dentistry, which we helped to secure on 10 February.


"We've now lost over a year's worth of dentistry – 40 million appointments – and MPs, armed with evidence from members, pressed Minister Maria Caulfield for a concrete plan. The stories they told reflected the reality colleagues are facing on the frontline, overstretched and underfunded, with many now looking for a way out. 


"The problem isn't the number of dentists we have; we just don't have enough willing to work under a broken system."





Monday 14 February 2022

16:04


England: Dental Foundation Trainees can support additional NHS sessions


Following NHS England's pledge of £50 million extra funding to provide additional urgent care for NHS patients, Health Education England's postgraduate dental Deans have released a statement supporting the involvement of Dental Foundation Trainees (Foundation Dentists – FDs) in the delivery of these additional sessions. 


In order to prioritise the training and wellbeing of trainees, the following criteria must be met:


  • The FD voluntarily agrees to provide additional sessions 
  • The sessions (one session is 3.5 hours) should be limited in number, four to six sessions a month ensuring at least one weekend free a fortnight 
  • There should be appropriate named support available on site to the FD during the clinical sessions, ideally the Educational Supervisor (ES) but may be an experienced dentist who has agreed to support the FD 
  • The FD must have received an Outcome 1 at Interim RCP (Outcomes available by the end of February 2022) 
  • The trainee must have support of their ES and TPD to undertake sessions 
  • The request needs approval of the local HEE Dental Dean or nominated deputy 
  • Clinical activity undertaken in the additional session can be recorded on the FD's portfolio, it is expected that they would see four to six patients a session. The activity will, however, be outside of the expected 1875 UDA activity target of a FD 
  • FDs should inform their indemnifier prior to undertaking additional sessions to ensure their indemnifier is aware of 'out of training' clinical activity and may be required to pay an additional fee.




13:11


England: Advice on engaging associates


Last month, NHS England announced £50 million extra funding to provide additional urgent care for NHS patients. Funding will be available until the end of March and will be paid on a sessional basis.


We have received queries from members on how to engage associates to perform these additional sessions and have put together an advice sheet to help you, with suggested wording for email communications:


We are awaiting clarification on some points of exactly what sessions can be claimed for and we will provide members with further information as soon as we get it.




09:01


BDA by-elections 2022: Do you want to represent your profession?


Nominations are now open for the 2022 BDA by-elections. We're looking for members to come forward to represent their colleagues across a whole range of BDA committees. You can find the full list of available seats on our elections page.


These committees help determine BDA policy and are key to making sure the voice of the profession is heard by governments and administrations across the four countries of the UK.


If you are interested in influencing positive change for dentists and dentistry, we encourage you to nominate yourself for the relevant seat. Nominations close midday Monday 14 March.