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Updates from week commencing 15 November 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 19 November 2021


Northern Ireland: Deadline for PPE claims extended

The Business Services Organisation is extending the claims deadline for any missed Item Code 3001 payments for the November 2021 payment cycle until Monday 6 December. Claims should be made by filling out this spreadsheet and uploading it to their eForm

This is solely for the recoup of Item Code 3001 claims submitted between 9 October and 8 November 2021 (inclusive) and not paid in the November 21 payments cycle. If you work in more than one practice, a separate spreadsheet and eForm must be completed for each practice that you work in.


Northern Ireland: Solutions for PPE payment issues sought

The PPE payment mechanism must be made more transparent, less administratively onerous on practitioners and ultimately reflective of the realities in practice for practitioners.

Following a Northern Ireland Dental Practitioners Committee sub-group meeting with the Business Services Organisation to discuss PPE payment issues, we have written to the Department to outline the issues involved and request that urgent solutions are found.


CPD: Equality, diversity and inclusion


No one should be negatively affected by uncontrollable factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, class or disability. That's why we're encouraging members to sign up for our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training course.


Inclusion is about making sure that everyone has the same opportunities to achieve in life. The perspectives and insight provided by this course may support you and your practice to be more consciously inclusive, considerate and respectful of diversity.


  • Availability: BDA members
  • Content: Modules, quizzes and short videos
  • 4.5 verifiable hours CPD.


Northern Ireland: Fresh efforts to secure fair rate for CDS additional hours

We have been making efforts to secure a fair rate of pay for additional hours worked by dentists in the Community Dental Service.

We recently rejected the Department of Health's proposal to move to localised arrangements with individual Trusts and requested to enter into a fresh, single-item negotiation. We want to see the Department put in place a new additional hours rate that is fit-for-purpose, comparable with other HSC arrangements, and enables CDS dentists to support waiting list initiatives.

This issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency, and we have asked that it be fully addressed ahead of the next NI Joint Negotiating Forum meeting scheduled for 8 December. We will keep you updated.


Dental careers podcast: Mixing it up

Ever fancied a portfolio career? What does it take to get the balance right?

We interviewed three dentists who have each taken their passion for dentistry and developed an outlet outside of their clinical roles. From charitable work to dental education to committee involvement, they discuss how the opportunities came about and even more importantly - how to juggle multiple work commitments.

"I realised I could make a huge difference to the lives of thousands of people with my dental skills."

Join us for an insightful chat about what it's like to mix it up with a portfolio career.


Listen on Apple podcasts, Google podcasts, Spotify or search "Chairside" on your chosen podcast platform.


England: CQC mental health care review

A new report published by the CQC looks at the provision of mental health support in England for children and young people during the pandemic. The report outlines challenges in access to care, inequalities in provision and the need for training of non-mental health staff.

Dr Rosie Benneyworth, Chief Inspector of Primary Medical Services and Integrated Care at CQC said: "As systems begin to move towards recovery, we need to hold onto and share the hard-won developments that have driven better care for children and young people, and their families.

"Examples like improved data sharing, joint commissioning of roles and improved mental health training for non-mental health staff have huge potential to help tackle issues we have sadly seen in this area for too long.

"Demand has soared over the last 18 months. We have to take this opportunity to learn from this incredibly challenging time and do better for them."

Thursday 18 November 2021


Antibiotics: Not a cure for toothache

Antimicrobial Awareness Week kicks off today and so we have joined with the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists, the College of General Dentistry and other health organisations to highlight the message 'Antibiotics do not cure toothache'.

The pandemic has had a negative impact on antibiotic prescribing patterns in dentistry. Dental teams in both general practice and hospital settings are encouraged to use best practice and only prescribe antibiotics in line with recently updated national guidelines.


England: GDS and PDS contract uplifts

The NHS Business Services Authority has notified providers that the contract uplift will be applied from December and backdated to April. The Department of Health and Social Care has not yet provided confirmation of the percentage uplift, but we were consulted on a figure of 2.22%. Once we have received confirmation of the figure to be applied, we will notify members.


Northern Ireland: Share your views on compulsory vaccinations

A public consultation is currently underway about a mandatory COVID-19 and flu vaccination for new staff in Northern Ireland. No decision has been made on compulsory vaccination of dental staff in Northern Ireland. However, it has been proposed that new staff, both new recruits and people moving posts, should be required to be fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

We'd like to hear your views on this important issue. If you're a dentist working in Northern Ireland, please email us at to tell us your thoughts.


Northern Ireland: Marking Mouth Cancer Awareness Month

To mark Mouth Cancer Awareness Month, BDA NI joined Cancer Focus NI in bringing professionals, patients, and carers together again with the return of the annual "Head and Neck Cancer Conference" on 16 November in the Dunadry Hotel.

Unfortunately, 60% of all head and neck cancers in Northern Ireland are diagnosed at a late stage, with approximately 100 local people dying annually. The conference highlighted the importance of early detection and why people need to be aware of the signs and symptoms.

Early diagnosis is something we and the wider dental community want to see significantly improved by engaging in awareness raising with our partners in Cancer Focus NI.


England: CQC fees unchanged for 2022/23

The CQC will not be consulting on fees this year, as they will not change from April 2022. This means that, for the vast majority of dental providers, fees will have remained the same for the last three years.

However, as in previous years, some providers may see a change to their fees (up or down), if they have added/removed a new surgery within their practice or added/removed another premises.

See their website for further information on CQC Fees.

Wednesday 17 November 2021


Wales: Funding boost must reach most vulnerable 

Minister for Health and Social Services Eluned Morgan MS has pledged additional funding for access to NHS dental services in Wales. Up to £3m has been allocated to Health Boards in 2021-2022 to expedite the recovery of services and bolster urgent and emergency care. An additional £2m in recurrent funding has also been promised to allow Health Boards to increase access over the medium term.

Katrina Clarke, Chair of the BDA's Welsh Council said: "This is welcome investment but is unlikely to be a game changer for high street dentists, who are still working to tight restrictions that set clear limits on the number of patients they can treat. 


"Ministers must recognise the community dentists treating the most vulnerable in Wales need to be thrown a lifeline. Colleagues are delivering care to patients with complex needs out of premises that are in dire need of upgrades, particularly when it comes to ventilation. Yearlong waiting times will remain the norm until we see comprehensive support."


COVID vaccination: Is it mandatory for all UK health staff?

If you are working in Scotland or Wales there are currently no plans to introduce compulsory COVID vaccinations as uptake rates have been very high.

COVID vaccination is also not mandatory in Northern Ireland, however, a public consultation is underway about the compulsory vaccination of new staff. If you're a dentist working in Northern Ireland, please email us at to tell us what you think about this important issue. 

If you are working in England, COVID vaccinations are mandatory for all health staff that have face-to-face contact with patients. NHS England has confirmed that unvaccinated individuals will need to have had their first dose by 3 February 2022, in order to have received their second dose by the 1 April 2022 deadline.

We have produced the following advice on compulsory COVID vaccination:


Scotland: VT activity to be added to practice reports

The Scottish Government have just informed us that Vocational Trainee (VT) activity will be added to practices' activity reports from December. We welcome this decision, which will ensure VT training practices are not negatively disadvantaged when comparing levels of practice activity. 

We had called on the Government to review this after receiving feedback from Vocational Trainers, outlining various scenarios where excluding VT activity from practice reports was negatively impacting training practices. We will continue to take forward members' issues and concerns to the Scottish Government on your behalf.


Safeguarding: Advice and expert templates

The dental team has an ethical responsibility to know about local protection procedures for adults and children, and to follow them if they might be at risk of abuse or neglect. Our updated advice on safeguarding  children and adults clearly outlines what you need to know. This includes information on disclosure, record keeping and different types of abuse.

Expert members can also access our safeguarding templates:


England: Years of antibiotic progress undone

We have warned that ongoing difficulties in accessing dental services risk fuelling the parallel health crisis of antibiotic resistance, as new data from the UK Health Security Agency shows a surge in dental prescriptions for antibiotics.

While all other healthcare settings recorded further drops in antibiotic prescribing in 2020, the English Surveillance Programme for Antimicrobial Utilisation and Resistance (ESPAUR) report shows dentistry alone saw an increase of almost a fifth. However, COVID restrictions reduced patient volumes by more than half that year.

Reflecting on these challenges ahead of Antibiotic Awareness Week, BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: "Antimicrobial resistance poses an even greater threat to human health than COVID. Sadly, the pandemic has wiped out years of progress in bringing down antibiotic use in dentistry. Placeholder prescriptions are now filling deficits in access and time, which the government has chosen not to factor in. Ministers have a responsibility to help dentists turn the page."

Tuesday 16 November 2021


England: Advice on mandatory COVID vaccine


All individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 April 2022. This means that dental practice staff and contractors in England will be required by law to have the COVID vaccine and prove their vaccination status.

We have produced the following advice on compulsory COVID vaccination:

We will update this advice as more information becomes available.


Wales: ACORN no longer required for urgent patients


The Deputy Chief Dental Officers for Wales have advised that you no longer need to complete an assessment of clinical oral risks and need (ACORN) for urgent patients. This change is effective immediately. The Deputy CDOs have also asked practices to try to offer ongoing care should these patients request it, understanding that there are reasons why some urgent patients will only access treatment on an ad-hoc basis.


England: NHS PPE charge error

We are aware that some practices in England have received charges for NHS PPE supplies. This is an error, and you are not required to pay the charge. 

If you have already paid the charge, or have any concerns, please email directly.


Northern Ireland: Staff recognition payments

The deadline has now been extended for templates and supporting information for the Staff Recognition Payments (SRP). Templates must be received, checked and approved by 17:00 on Friday 19 November 2021. Any returns received after this time will be held until the next month's payment run. FAQ documents have now been placed on the Primary Care Intranet. Recordings of training sessions have also been uploaded to help you.

Please note that the Health & Social Care Board requires the completed template and relevant supporting information to be returned from your practice's e-mail address. If you do not have access to an e-mail address, please make contact with your local office.


Scotland: Changes to availability of PPE

National Services Scotland (NSS) will remove the option for general dental practices to order elasticated ear loop type IIR face masks this week. Instead, tie-back face masks will be the available options across all four primary care contactor groups. 

The decision has been made as National Procurement currently hold a large supply of tie-back masks which need to be utilised. Also, due to an increase in demand for ear loop masks, National Procurement are currently unable to guarantee that supply levels for this item would be maintained. The change will be visible on Pecos, the online ordering platform, from Monday 22 November.

Monday 15 November 2021


Scotland: Ventilation Improvement Allowance FAQs


The Scottish Government have produced a document answering frequently asked questions about the Ventilation Improvement Allowance which was announced in June.

The FAQs are intended to help answer practitioners' queries and provide clarity on areas such as:

  • The requirement for practitioners to provide NHS GDS for a further three years
  • The circumstances where portable measures, such as air scrubbers, are eligible, among other essential information.

Download the Ventilation Improvement Allowance FAQs.



Northern Ireland: GDC to refer low-level concerns for local resolution

A new process for referring low-level concerns raised by patients with the General Dental Council (GDC) has been outlined by the Chief Dental Officer for Northern Ireland, Caroline Lappin.

This process, effective from 8 November 2021, will allow the GDC to refer any concerns that do not involve patient safety issues and ones that do not meet the threshold for fitness to practice. These low-level complaints will be dealt with in the Dental Practice or HSC Trust Dental Department.


Richard Graham, Chair of the BDA Northern Ireland Dental Practice Committee, said: "We welcome [this] more proportionate way of dealing with low-level concerns and reducing unnecessary stress on dentists. We are pleased that the scope of this agreement will apply not only to dentists working in GDS, but also in CDS and HDS in Northern Ireland."

A similar approach is already in place in England, Wales, and Scotland.


Are your NHS practice details up to date?

It is important for patients that NHS dental practices have accurate information on the NHS website. This should include opening times and whether the practice is taking on new patients. Check if your practice's details are up to date. If they are not, the NHS' online visual guide explains how to gain editing rights and update your profile.


England: Mandatory COVID vaccines for healthcare workers

All individuals undertaking CQC regulated activities in England must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by 1 April 2022 to protect patients, as announced by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) this week. This means that unvaccinated individuals will need to have had their first dose by 3 February 2022, in order to have received their second dose by the 1 April 2022 deadline. 

Exemptions apply, including those who are medically exempt; under 18 years of age; do not have contact with patients; or are a participant in a clinical trial investigating COVID-19 vaccination. If you are medically exempt, we encourage you to obtain the necessary medical evidence as early as possible. 

We are currently reviewing the regulations and currently putting together a package of advice. We are drafting a series of template letters to help our members manage and communicate this process with staff. We will keep you updated.