Friday 18 June 2021
Living with the threat of vicarious liability
Can practice owners ever completely protect themselves from the risk of vicarious liability?
Many of you will already be familiar with the recent court case in which a dental practice owner was found to be vicariously liable for the errors of his associate.
Our members have been calling us to express concern. To reassure them, we have taken advice from legal counsel to find out whether (and how) practice owners can protect themselves from litigation for another person’s acts and omissions.
Tips to avoid mask miscommunication
The continuous use of masks poses both practical and ethical challenges for the dental team that are being reflected in an increasing number of complaints being received around the country.
Some patients are complaining that their dentist was uncaring and indifferent to their pain. Others are saying that they have not understood the treatment options described by the clinician or the likely outcome.
Top five tips:
- Make eye contact - This conveys 'I see you' activating empathy and connection.
- Convey openness, warmth and respect with body language - Sit down with patients, turn towards them, and sit at eye level whilst maintaining social distance.
- Encourage questions to gauge understanding - In the face of any lack of comprehension that is critical to obtaining valid consent.
- Give more supplementary written information than usual.
- Use gestures - Thumbs up or down to clarify what has or hasn't been understood.
The use of a mask creates the need to really work on communication skills to create trust and enhance patient care.
Northern Ireland: Minister confirms new GDS Rebuilding Stakeholder Group
A new group aimed at working through medium and longer-term issues in ensuring General Dental Services are sustainable going forward has been confirmed by Health Minister Robin Swann.
This follows BDA calls for work to begin urgently on new GDS remuneration arrangements following the impact COVID has had on what was already an unsustainable model. The group, to be comprised of DoH, HSCB and BDA (NIDPC) representatives will also work to address ongoing and immediate issues facing dentistry.
his reply to a joint
letter from the BDA NI Chairs he has committed to keep under review the administrative capacity supporting dentistry within DoH, and to ensure BDA concerns will be given full consideration in the future planning of the NI healthcare system.
Thursday 17 June 2021
EU Settlement Scheme and the end of the grace period: 30 June 2021
EU, other EEA and Swiss citizens, and their family members have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.
The free scheme enables EEA and Swiss citizens resident in the UK by the end of the transition period, and their family members, to obtain the status they will require in order to live and work in the UK. Applicants only need to complete three key steps – prove their identity, show that that they live in the UK, and declare any criminal convictions.
The Home Office is hosting a number of sessions covering: who needs to apply, settled/pre-settled status, late applications, right to work checks and support for EU Nationals. You can sign up to one of these sessions using the registration links below:
Scotland: Highlighting our concerns with the new Cabinet Secretary
We have written to Humza Yousaf, the new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care,
to reiterate the concerns we raised at the constructive meeting we had with him last week.
- the need to introduce a wider range of measures than just gross Item of Service (IoS) to monitor practices’ activities
- the urgent requirement for a more sustainable funding model to allow practices to plan their finances and recruit new dentists
- managing patients’ expectations about limited access to routine dentistry as the profession is already under considerable pressure and the pledge to abolish NHS dental charges is likely to increase patient demand
- the need for a new long-term financial model to ensure NHS dentistry is sufficiently resourced and remains sustainable
- tackle long-standing oral health inequalities which will have widened during the pandemic.
The Cabinet Secretary has committed to meet with BDA representatives on a regular basis and we have sought a meeting with the Chairs of our committees soon.
Burnout in dentistry
The Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published its
latest report on Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care.
The report addresses long-term drivers of burnout, many of which have been severely aggravated by the pandemic. It covers:
- Burnout before and during COVID-19
- Workplace culture and support for staff
- Workforce planning
Stress and burnout have been endemic across the profession for years, alongside critical issues on recruitment and retention.
our members are reporting higher levels of stress compared to any point during this pandemic, with working in high-level PPE cited as having an unparalleled impact on morale. This report underlines
the case we're making for a roadmap to ease restrictions.
Right to work checks from 1 July
The government has issued new
guidance on checks that employers need to undertake from 1 July 2021.
There is also
new guidance for EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who have received their status under the EU Settlement Scheme.
We would advise dentists and their team members to consider the information and raise awareness amongst their contacts.
Wednesday 16 June 2021
Supporting you to tackle stress
Dentists and their teams are reporting high rates of stress and anxiety. That's why we provide a
course on tackling stress which is designed to help you deal with work-related stress. It covers two key topics:
Stress Awareness is designed to give you an overview of stress awareness at work. We'll explain why stress occurs and how it can manifest itself physically and psychologically, and offer practical hints and tips on how to cope with the ever-increasing demands of the modern workplace.
Managing Stress and Conflict looks in detail at how these two subjects are interlinked. We'll explore the obligations of the organisation in minimising stress levels and, most importantly, examine the role that managers have in controlling stress and conflict within their teams.
If you're a member, you can also access our
Health Assured service to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health and general wellbeing. You can access a helpline 24/7, 365 days a year.
BDA Benevolent Fund: London marathon 2021
On October 3, 100,000 people will be taking part in the biggest marathon ever staged in the world, by running in London and all over the country. We're pleased to see dentists and a dental student are taking part to fundraise on behalf of the
BDA Benevolent Fund, a charity supporting dentists and dental students living in the UK who are in financial hardship.
Find out more about these runners and how you can support this worthy cause:
“This is my first marathon and every penny that anybody donates will be hugely appreciated by me and the charity I am supporting.” –
Dr Helen Reddington
“I can't wait to get going with training in full flow and I look forward to all your help and support in sponsoring me for what is a fantastic cause and organisation!” -
Dr. Zayd Rawoot
“I am a dental student currently studying at King's College London... I would appreciate your help in raising some money for such an amazing charity.” -
BDA Good Practice
Are you working in a UK dental practice and want to demonstrate a visible commitment to quality through good team working, efficient practice systems and an improved patient experience?
BDA Good Practice will help you to reach those goals and more.
Subscribe to our mailing list to learn more about the scheme.
BDJ Clinicians' Guides
Did you know, being a member entitles you to a 20% discount on the BDJ Clinicians' Guides series?
The guides enables clinicians at all stages of their careers to remain well informed and up to date on key topics across all fields of dentistry. Ideal for undergraduates and the newly qualified, they also serve as a refresher for more experienced clinicians and are valued as excellent postgraduate texts too.
To access the discount code and place your order, just visit
Tuesday 15 June 2021
Scotland: Engagement with Government
Following our meeting with the new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care last week, we received
a letter from him this afternoon regarding the commitment to abolish NHS dentistry charges, and the challenges facing dental teams, including the need for a more sustainable funding support model.
“In a recent meeting with BDA Scotland I was impressed by the need for interim financial support, offering a more sustainable support base as we move forward with the remobilisation of NHS dental services. I can confirm that we are looking at the remobilisation of NHS dental services...alongside the legislative changes, and will be discussing these arrangements with BDA Scotland during the summer.”
We were the first organisation to meet the Cabinet Secretary after he took office and we're pleased to see eagerness on behalf of the Scottish Government with us on these essential issues.
Dentists called to support survivors of domestic abuse
A new campaign is calling for dentists to provide pro bono treatment to survivors of domestic abuse.
In a new blog, Dr Sonia Joshi she tells us why she's involved and what the proposed dentistry directory can achieve.
“During my twenty years in the profession, I’ve seen dentistry come a long way in its understanding and provision of care for highly vulnerable patients who have suffered from situations of domestic abuse. But there is much still to be done.
“The idea for a registry of dentists willing to provide pro bono services started during lockdown. On social media, I saw a request from Rachel Williams, the founder of Stand Up to Domestic Abuse, asking for dental care for a survivor of domestic abuse and I contacted her to see how dentists could support these patients. Since then, the idea of a registry has taken off.”
Wales: Stress and COVID-19
If you've found this past year challenging, know that you're not alone. A recent BDA Wales survey of dentists reveals that an incredible percentage of us have struggled with our mental health over this period of 15 months.
In a recent blog, NHS GDP Dan Cook shares a personal perspective and research insights into the mental health of dentists in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We all know that pressures on dentists and dentistry in Wales long pre-date the pandemic. But I find it particularly worrying that 75% of practitioners in Wales attended work when they didn't feel mentally well enough during the pandemic. What's more, 43% of respondents now feel they cannot cope with the level of stress in their job. These findings make for stark reading, but are sadly unsurprising.”
Associate dentists - managing your financial and tax affairs
Are you an associate dentist? If so, consider attending our upcoming webinar for
assistance and advice on how best to manage accounts and tax affairs. This online event is free to members and will take place at 19:30 - 20:30 this Thursday.
Register today to:
- Evaluate the best ways to organise your accounts
- Learn how to use essential accounting software to organise and streamline your affairs
- Discuss deductions available for associates
- Understand your accounts and tax bill.
Monday 14 June 2021
Scotland: Revised payment system confirmed
The Scottish Government has just
issued an amended SDR advising of changes to the calculation of maternity, paternity and adoptive leave payments, and to long-term sickness payments.
A test period will no longer be used to calculate these payments. Instead, flat-rate payments will be applied and pro-rated by each contractor's WTE hours and NHS commitment level.
We have been raising concerns with the Scottish Government that pregnant dentists were receiving lower payments than they would otherwise have received - as the test period was increasingly based on the COVID support payments (85% of pre-pandemic gross Item of Service). In March,
we welcomed the Scottish Government's announcement that it planned to review these and other payments.
Do you need a Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licence?
Does your practice import or export human tissues and cells between Great Britain (GB) and the European Economic Area (EEA) for human application (patient treatment)? If so, you may require an HTA licence if you wish to continue these activities from 1 July 2021.
These regulatory changes came into effect following the end of the UK Transition Period, and may affect establishments that previously did not require an HTA licence.
If you think your practice might be affected by these changes, please visit the
HTA’s website for further information or contact the HTA directly for advice:
BDA Library: COVID-19 and dentistry
Our library continues to provide members with access to packages of dental articles on COVID-19 and dentistry.
Take a look at this list, which is frequently updated.
Recently added articles include, “Sources of SARS-CoV-2 and other microorganisms in dental aerosols” and “COVID-19: seroprevalence and vaccine responses in UK dental care professionals” from the Journal of Dental Research and “A clinical investigation of dental evacuation systems in reducing aerosols” from the Journal of the American Dental Association.
Learning Disability Awareness week: Free resources for dentists
The NHS estimates there are around 1.5 million people in the UK with a learning disability. Unfortunately, there are many barriers to dental care for such patients and COVID has exacerbated these access issues, particularly for those who experience higher levels of oral health inequalities.
This Learning Disability Awareness week, Charlotte Waite outlines how you can help break down barriers to care and provide a positive experience for all dental patients.
This includes encouraging dentists and their teams to download a new free set of Makaton prompt cards to help break down barriers to communications for dental patients. To access the resource, visit the
Makaton Library – create a free login and search for ‘Your dental appointment’.
NHS England contracts: Today is the last day for year end declarations
As we’ve highlighted before, it is a mandatory requirement for general practice contract holders in England to submit a year end declaration for the year 2020-21.
We know that some contract holders have yet to complete their returns and NHS England has extended the deadline for submission until 23:59 tonight.
Failing to complete the form accurately could put the payments received during the last financial year in jeopardy. The year-end declaration eForm letter is available in
Compass and further guidance is available from the
The declaration asks a series of questions that contract holders are required to answer. One of those is a declaration that payments during the 2020/21 contract year were made to the practice workforce from April to December 2020. Practice owners were obliged to pay associates and other staff at ‘previous NHS levels’ during that period. This has proven to be one of the most challenging aspects of the set of requirements, with different interpretations of paying at previous levels, particularly for associates.
We have offered consistent
advice on this issue
that the most logical approach is to pay the equivalent of Net Pensionable Earnings from the prior financial year. We have heard of many examples of practices taking different approaches, for example additionally passing on the full costs of the 16.75% contract abatement. We do not believe that this sort of method is fair to associates given that deductions will already have been taken into account via the NPE calculation.
LDCs call for reform and say discrimination has no place in dentistry
We were pleased to see a
special motion passed this weekend during the Annual Conference of Local Dental Committees (LDCs), agreeing that all forms of discrimination have no place in dentistry.
Eddie Crouch, BDA Chair said: “When we recently conducted a survey on racism within dentistry, we had comments back that we should stop wasting money and effort on problems that don’t exist and to stop being woke. Sadly, these problems do exist, and I hope conference will approve this motion in support of the work we all must do, to challenge discrimination wherever it exists.”
Contract reform and addressing the challenges from COVID-19 and a poorly funded NHS service, were among the key topics debated at the conference. There was also an extensive discussion of the impact that the current infection prevention control (IPC) requirements were having on dentists and their teams.
Find out more about the topics discussed.