Internet Explorer and Edge browser users:
To download Word, Excel or PowerPoint files please right-click on the file you wish to download, and select 'Save target as...'

Updates from week commencing 17 January 2022

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 21 January 2022


Making headlines for NHS dentistry

We work hard to shine a light on the issues that are important to you, and this week we've gained lots of coverage for the pressures facing NHS dentistry. 

You may already have seen the new analysis by the BBC indicating that NHS dentistry in England and Wales has lost the equivalent of 8% of the workforce. This story made headlines elsewhere too, and reached publications across the UK. 

We are clear that the time for real reform in dentistry is now. If NHS dentistry is going to have a future, it will require all four governments to step up. 

We will continue pushing for coverage of the challenges facing dentistry and for real systemic change.


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 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:



Northern Ireland: Dental workforce challenges in 2022

NI Council Chair, Roz McMullan, highlights the key challenges facing the dental workforce in Northern Ireland in her recent blog.

With around half of associates and practice owners confirming they intend to increase their proportion of private work over the next five years, we are clear that the time for bold reform in dentistry is now.

"For the sake of NHS dentistry and the patients who rely on it, the profession and government must use all their skills and knowledge to secure a highly skilled and valued workforce. Our patients need and deserve quality and timely dental care… The next three years will be pivotal for the future of dentistry in Northern Ireland."

Thursday 20 January 2022


Are your NHS practice details up to date?


The NHS website aims to hold accurate information about NHS dental practices, including 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.


Northern Ireland: 2022 branch programme launched

Our 2022 Northern Ireland Branch programme has been launched and paper copies are currently landing with members. 

This year's programme of CPD events aims to deliver maximum benefit to dental professionals with engaging thought-leadership from some inspiring speakers.

BDA Northern Ireland Branch President, Peter Crooks, said: "In developing this CPD programme for 2022, I am hoping we will be encouraged to do something different, perhaps learn a new technique for our clinical practice, look at dentistry with a wider perspective or consider if our skills could be valued further afield."

We're also planning a variety of social events to provide you with excellent networking opportunities and peer support throughout the year. 


Northern Ireland: Clarification on additional in-year pay award

The Department of Health has confirmed that yesterday's announcement by Minister Swann will apply only to directly employed HSC staff. They will receive an extra 0.5% pay award, backdated to 1 April 21. This funding is in addition to the 3% award for all HSC workers for the 2020/21 period.


NHS dentistry: How to stop an exodus

In a new blog published today, Shawn Charlwood, Chair of the General Dental Practice Committee, shares how choices made by all four governments have sparked a flight from NHS dentistry and how real reform can help turn the tide.

New analysis by the BBC indicates that NHS dentistry in England and Wales has lost the equivalent of 8% of the workforce.

NHS dentistry was in crisis before Covid hit, but the government's handling of the pandemic has sped up what was already in motion and we are now facing an exodus:

"Every vacancy that goes unfilled translates into thousands of patients unable to access care. The service is hanging by a thread […] Ministers have failed to grasp that we can't have NHS dentistry without NHS dentists."

Watch Shawn Charlwood speaking to the BBC: 


Associates: Helping you plan for maternity leave

James Goldman, Associate Director of Advisory Services, shares what you need to know about maternity and parental leave as a self-employed associate in his recent blog.

Planning for maternity and parental leave can be complex and stressful, that's why it's important to be aware of your contractual obligations and start any discussions with your practice early on:

"It usually suits both parties better to agree that the practice takes care of locum arrangements. This allows the practice to have control over who joins their workplace, and enables the associate to take maternity leave without having to worry about the locum. However, it is not always so straightforward and practice owners can always invoke the locum clause."

Wednesday 19 January 2022


England: MPs pile on the pressure on dental contract reform 


During yesterday's oral questions to the Department for Health and Social Care, Members of Parliament pressured the Minister to commit to a deadline for abolishing Units of Dental Activity. 


Derek Thomas MP stressed that the biggest problem facing dentists in Cornwall was the current contract, which he argued "is no longer fit for purpose" and "holds dentistry away from people that need it". Sir Robert Goodwill MP echoed his comments, urging the Minister to set a date for the end of the UDAs. In her responses, Minister Maria Caulfield MP stressed the Government was working on reform, but did not indicate when a new system might be rolled out. 


We continue to lobby the Government and MPs about the need to reform the dental contract and increase investment in NHS dentistry. We will keep you updated.


Protect children, kick junk food ads out of sport


We have joined forces with the Children's Food Campaign and Food Active to call for a stop to junk food marketing to children via sports advertising.


Their report, 'Kicking out junk food' shows last year's 'Summer of Sport' was used by the food and drink industry to deluge families with marketing, advertising and sports personality-led promotions for pizzas, burgers, chocolate, crisps and fizzy drinks.


BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: "The junk food industry's fingerprints are found in every corner of professional sport. Our children's sporting heroes have free reign to flog products that would never get past their team nutritionists. Until Ministers show they are willing to step in and draw a line, health professionals will keep counting the cost in rotten teeth and expanding waistlines."


We are calling on the Government and the sports industry to kick junk food advertising out of sport. We want sports sponsorship to be included in all future healthier advertising and marketing regulations for food and drink, to ensure children's oral health is safeguarded.


Scotland: Higher examination fees won't fix backlog issues

The higher fees for examination announced this week will do little to address the colossal backlog of unmet patient care that has accumulated during the pandemic.


With high Covid transmission rates, continued restrictions in how dental practices operate, and many staff self-isolating, the reality is that many dentists will have very limited capacity to increase examinations as they already have an enormous number of patients awaiting treatment. 

These examinations will also require additional time (especially where a full periodontal charting is needed) which will negate the higher fees. This demonstrates a lack of understanding of how dental practices operate. We will continue to push for the Government to take account of dentists' feedback.


Resources: Managing stress in dentistry 


Almost half of dentists say stress in their job is exceeding their ability to cope. To help you, we're holding a CPD certified webinar on Thursday 27 January 2022 at 19:30, led by psychotherapist Anthony Asquith.


This session will cover:


  • How to tackle worry and stress head on
  • Stress management strategies 
  • How to work more productively and sustainably.

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 there to support you.

Tuesday 18 January 2022


BDA Indemnity: Future-proofed protection

At the end of last year, the Government published its response to the recommendations made in the Paterson Inquiry.

The events and issues surrounding Paterson centred on medical surgical care in NHS and private hospitals. However, they have thrown a light on much wider and often complex issues relating to indemnity and the secure and certain protection of both patients receiving care, and the clinicians who are delivering it.

We can reassure you that BDA Indemnity was designed and created to address many of the concerns raised in the Paterson Inquiry, and we look forward to contributing to the promised stakeholder discussions this year. 

A piece in this month's BDJ In Practice provides further insight into this complex issue.


Wales: Changes to Test Trace Protect (TTP) policies

Following the emergence of the Omicron variant, the Chief Medical Officer has issued a letter confirming the changes to the Welsh Government Test Trace Protect (TTP) policies.

The changes include the following for confirmed contacts of someone with COVID:

  • Unvaccinated staff are now advised to take LFTs on day 2 and 8 of their 10 day isolation period, instead of a PCR test. These unvaccinated individuals must remain in isolation until day 11 regardless of the LFT result on day 2 and 8
  • Fully vaccinated staff who are not in close contact with vulnerable patients may return to work
  • Fully vaccinated staff who are in close contact with patients will need to contact their manager and may be required to have a negative PCR result before returning to work. These staff should also continue to use LFTs before coming into work
  • Fully vaccinated staff who work in close contact with patients/service users who are known to be immunosuppressed and/or clinically extremely vulnerable will not continue to work with these patients/service users. Staff should be redeployed to work with patients/service users who are not immunosuppressed and/or clinically extremely vulnerable. They will be asked to take the necessary tests or asked not to attend work
  • Anyone without symptoms who tests positive from a LFT are no longer advised to take a follow up PCR test, however, those with the main symptoms of COVID should continue to book PCR tests and not rely on only taking a LFT
  • Staff who undertake regular asymptomatic PCR tests should not use a PCR for 90 days unless they develop new core symptoms of COVID-19 or are required to do so under international travel requirements. 


Northern Ireland: Updated guidance for staff contact with COVID-19

Chief Medical Officer, Sir Michael McBride, has issued updated guidance on the management of staff with confirmed cases of COVID, or close contact with a confirmed case.

The changes include the following:  

  • A PCR test is temporarily not required to confirm a positive result from a lateral flow test
  • Staff identified as a close contact of a confirmed case (who are eligible for a booster but have not yet received it, or who at the time of exposure were within 14 days of receiving the booster) cannot return to work unless a risk assessment is carried out, with each case authorised and recorded by a director 
  • Staff can return to work from day 7 on condition they have two negative LFTs on two consecutive days – with the first taken on day 6
  • Staff who have had COVID confirmed by a PCR, LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) test or LFT should not commence asymptomatic testing with LFT or LAMP tests for three weeks from the date of their positive test
  • Staff who undertake regular asymptomatic PCR tests should not use a PCR for 90 days after a positive test (as tiny fragments of the virus may remain).


Scotland: Risk assessment needed for patients with respiratory symptoms

The revised NHS Scotland Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dental teams were issued recently, following publication of the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM).

These advise that any patients that have respiratory symptoms – including runny nose, congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs, sore throat, sneezing or coughing – should be placed on the respiratory pathway. 

  • If the matter is non-urgent, the SOPs state that face-to-face consultation for confirmed or suspected COVID cases should be deferred until the COVID self-isolation period has ended. For other non-Covid respiratory viruses, consultation should be deferred until resolution of symptoms. 
  • If the matter is urgent, the patient may be seen within the dental setting but ideally should be provided with an appointment at the end of the day or session to reduce any post-AGP fallow time (if an AGP is performed) impacting on the remaining patient list.

Dental teams are expected to follow national guidance and apply this guidance to their individual settings. 

Monday 17 January 2022


Resources: Tools to support staff wellbeing

Many people find January a particularly challenging time of the year, so if you are experiencing stress at work, know that you are not alone. 

We provide all members with access to Health Assured, a comprehensive confidential service designed to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health, and general wellbeing. Members can access the helpline 24/7, 365 days a year.

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 there to support you.


England: Pioneering NHS dentists thrown under the bus

We have criticised the insufficient support offered to over 100 pioneering practices in England, who are being forced back to working to historic models of care from April after years of testing new ways of providing NHS care.  


These 'prototype' practices volunteered to form the test bed for new ways of delivering dentistry, to replace the widely discredited target-based NHS dental contract. Reverting to the original model will now see them facing significant challenges. These practices are being offered a helpline and patient leaflets to deal with the change. This will do little to mitigate the disruption caused.


England: Your feedback on working through Omicron wave

With the Omicron wave impacting staff sickness and patient cancellations we need to know where you stand. If you're working in General Dental Practice in England, in NHS, private or mixed practice we need your feedback.

Please complete this five-minute survey.

The anger across the profession is palpable, and we also need to know what action you are now prepared to undertake. The evidence you provide us with will underpin the case we make to Government, and the approach we will adopt as we move forward.


England: Additional exceptional circumstances announced


NHS England has announced additional exceptional circumstances arrangements to provide further support to practices hit by Covid-related staff absences in the Omicron wave. Where patient activity is lost due to a staff absence as a direct result of COVID-19 or due to self-isolation from 1 December 2021 to 31 March 2022, contractors will be able to submit a claim for this lost activity to be credited to the contract.


Contractors will need to promptly notify commissioners within five working days of the absence using the template available from the BSA and submit it to the BSA ( with regional commissioners copied in. Retrospective claims for December and early January must be submitted by 31 January in order to be considered.


England: Isolation days reduced for NHS staff

From today, NHS staff who have received a positive COVID-19 test result are only required to self-isolate for 5 days, if they test negative on days 5 and 6 and are medically fit. This means that if you test negative on the morning of day 6 and you tested negative 24 hours earlier, you can return to work on day 6. 

However, to mitigate any potential increased risk of transmission, NHS England and NHS Improvement require that all NHS staff then continue to test daily to day 10 after their initial positive test and stop at day 10 unless they remain or test positive.