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Updates from week commencing 21 December 2020

Read all the updates and what we've been working on during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Thursday 31 December 2020



COVID vaccine rollout


Yesterday’s announcement that the Oxford University/AstraZeneca vaccine has been authorised by the MHRA was accompanied by updated guidance from the JCVI and the UK chief medical officers around increased spacing of second vaccine doses. The combined effect of the two decisions is that we are now anticipating a substantial acceleration in vaccination.


This has led to understandable questions around rollout for dentists and their teams.


As reported in previous updates, we have repeatedly sought reassurance about prioritisation for dentistry, with NHS England, the Office of the CDO and separately across the devolved nations. NHS England has confirmed initial priority for those aged 80 and over, together with care home staff and residents. Frontline health and social care staff are included in the next priority group. We have been told consistently that dentists and their teams, both in the NHS and in the private sector, are included in that group.


NHS England has confirmed the approach outlined in the provisional guidance on vaccination, the Green Book which specifically includes dentistry and those in independent practice under the definition of healthcare staff.


Now that we anticipate accelerated rollout for frontline health and social care staff, we have again sought clarification around what that means for dentistry and how and when dental teams will be included in the vaccination programme. We will continue to raise the position of dentistry and will of course keep you updated.



Wednesday 23 December 2020



Opening hours during Christmas and the new year


Our offices are closed from 17:00 today until 08:30 on Monday 4 January (Tuesday 5 January in Scotland).


To assist you during this time, we hope the updates below will answer some of your queries until the new year. Our Frequently Asked Questions have been updated with the latest information on NHS England quarter four targets, tier 4 restrictions and shielding. Information on CPD enquiries.


Indemnity support

Policyholders should email or call 020 7535 5858 for assistance. The phone line is open 24 hours a day except Christmas Day and New Year's Day. If you would like to switch to BDA Indemnity, please get a quote. If you are applying to formally switch over the Christmas period, please continue and we will be in touch to process your application.


Member advice

If you require advice during this time, please email and an advisor will get back to you when the office reopens. If your email is urgent please mark your email accordingly and we will try to get back to you during the break. Please leave a telephone number and your membership number.  For all other enquiries, we will get back to you as soon as possible when we reopen on Monday 4 January.





BDA President Russ Ladwa's address to members

Russ LadwaOn behalf of all of us at the BDA, I'd like to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and happy festive season.


We know this year has been challenging in many ways, but we will continue to work hard on behalf of you, your teams and patients. I'm sincerely grateful for the efforts of dentists who stepped up their support for patients and colleagues when they needed it most. Our maxim, "Together, we are stronger",  has really proven to be true in 2020.


I'm proud to look back and say that wherever possible, we worked hard to provide appropriate care to our patients, despite all the difficulties.


Please try to keep well, safe and take time off over the holidays to rest, recharge and reflect. Should you need someone to talk to over the next couple of weeks, you have access to Health Assured a confidential 24/7 helpline open 365 days a year.


Russ Ladwa
BDA President





Scotland: No change to dentistry during Level 4 restrictions


The CDO has written to the profession advising that there will be no change to dentistry – either NHS or private – once Level 4 restrictions are introduced in mainland Scotland from Boxing Day.


We had argued that it was not the time to reintroduce the full range of NHS treatments with transmission rates increasing, and with new highly infective strains of Coronavirus leading to a wider lockdown. We will discuss with the Scottish Government what implications the new restrictions will have on patient numbers and activity levels during and after the current remobilisation transition phase.





Northern Ireland: FFS funding changes


The Department of Health has publicised details of upcoming changes to the GDS Financial Support Scheme (FSS) in Northern Ireland.


The most noteworthy change being the new link between a GDP’s monthly FSS payment and their monthly Item of Service (IoS) earnings:


  • Nothing will change for the majority of GDPs, who are currently earning 15% or more of their average 2019/20 monthly IoS earnings. They will continue to receive 100% of their FSS payment
  • GDPs earning less than 15% will see an abatement applied
  • Those earning between 10% and 15% will receive 90% of their FSS payment
  • Those earning less than 10% will receive 80% of their FSS payment
  • Meanwhile, GDPs earning less than 1% will receive no FSS payment at all, unless exceptional circumstances can be demonstrated
  • And from the February-March payment cycle, those earning between 1% and 5% will see their FSS payments cut by 50%.

We’re asking for you to fill in this short survey, to help us ascertain how many GDPs believe they will struggle to hit the 15% earnings threshold and why – PPE costs, insufficient surgery time, insufficient dental staff etc.





Scotland: Advice for dentists on COVID-19 support payments


Practitioner Services has updated its frequently asked questions on COVID-19 support payments. The revised advice includes new information on: the increased payments from 1 November; maternity and paternity payments; personal commitment payments; support for Vocational Trainers and VDPs; and advice for associates.


These updated FAQs will hopefully help to answer a range of queries that you may have about the support payments.





Brexit and dentistry: Three things you need to know


In a recent blog, I outlined three ways Brexit is likely to impact dentistry across the UK. This includes possible impacts on the supply and cost of dental materials, registration changes and possible costs, the particular impact it is likely to have on dentists in Northern Ireland.


"While the pandemic took centre stage this year, our teams have been working on Brexit throughout. We have not stopped voicing the interests of dentists and dentistry and seeking clarity on key issues. Now, we have a clearer idea of how Brexit will impact dentistry over the coming years."






Tackling racism in dentistry: Please complete our survey


We have launched our first survey on racism in dentistry, created in collaboration with the Faculty of General Dental Practice/College of General Dentistry.


Take the survey: Tackling racism and discrimination in dentistry 


The survey is open to all dentists and dental students across the UK and aims to collect experiences of racism, racial discrimination and racial inequalities within the profession.



Tuesday 22 December 2020



NHS England confirms quarter four targets


NHS England has decided to press ahead with a target that we believe will threaten practice viability and undermine patient care. See also its guidance to support dental contract management arrangements for the 2020/21- year-end reconciliation.


We have refused to sign up to a deal which will see practices face steep financial penalties if they are unable to hit 45% of their pre-pandemic UDA targets.


We have been very clear: these are the wrong targets at the wrong time and NHS England should have given practices detailed guidance on this issue in good time, rather than with a few working days left before the start of the quarter. In the absence of that clear guidance, we have moved to help advise the profession and provide resources for members:






Webinar: New UDA targets - What you need to know


Earlier today we held a webinar covering the background to the negotiations with NHS England. We also examined the practical implications for practice owners and associates, and answered your questions.

For those members unable to attend, we’ve shared a recording of the webinar and the accompanying slides here .





Northern Ireland: Minister responds on enhanced rate for CDS


The Minister has responded to our concerns regarding the enhanced rate for CDS dentists.


We had written to the Minister about this earlier this month explaining that we were extremely disappointed, not only that the 1.33 rate being lower than that we'd proposed (1.6) upon invitation by the Department of Health, but also that the timeframe and process allowed no formal opportunity for meaningful engagement on the determined rate.





Shielding advice reintroduced in Tier 4 areas


The government has introduced Tier 4 restrictions to some areas (London and parts of the South East), and reintroduced shielding advice for Clinically Extremely Vulnerable (CEV) individuals in these areas.


Patients may have questions about the advice they should follow. Here’s what you need to know:


  • Those at highest risk in Tier 4 areas and advised by government to shield are eligible for support including free delivery of medicines (where friends, family, or local volunteers are unable to provide help) and statutory sick pay where unable to work from home.
  • CEV individuals in Tiers 1-3 should continue to follow the government advice for those at highest risk specific to each of these tiers.
  • The government is writing to all CEV patients affected by the shielding advice in Tier 4 areas to inform them of this guidance. Letters will be sent in the week commencing 21 December, but may be delayed due to the volume of post at Christmas.
  • These shielding letters will confirm that they will be prioritised for the COVID-19 vaccination in advance of the general population, and emphasise the importance of CEV individuals continuing to engage with the NHS.





CPD grace period and certificate enquiries


This year the GDC is offering a CPD grace period for those able to demonstrate exceptional circumstances. This may apply to you, if you are not able to complete the necessary hours of CPD before the end of your CPD cycle. However, they will only grant a request for a grace period when you satisfy them there is a good reason to do so.


If you have undertaken learning with us this year, but are not able to find a certificate, please email before 16:00 today. Requests received from Wednesday 23 December cannot be processed until 4 January 2021.





Members: Advice waiting times


Our advisors are currently inundated with queries about NHS England and the potential last quarter targets. Please bear with us. Our webinar addressing this issue is taking place at 13:00 today and will be available to members on-demand afterwards.


We are also providing members with further resources here:






Today’s webinar: New UDA targets - What you need to know


Members: Join our webinar on UDA targets today  from 13:00 - 14:00, to hear about the background to the negotiations with NHS England. We’ll also examine the practical implications for practice owners and associates and answer your questions.


The number of attendees for this live session is limited to 1,000 registrants. Should you miss out on a ‘seat’ for the live session we’ll be sharing a recording shortly afterwards. CPD will not apply for the session and certificates will not be issued.


For more information:




Monday 21 December 2020



Wales: New SOPs for non-COVID-19 dentistry


Updated SOPs for non-COVID-19 dental patients in Wales have been published. See also the accompanying letter from the Chief Dental Officer to Primary Care Dental Teams in Wales.





Tier four and targets: Write to your MP


Following the tier four restrictions the imposition of NHS activity targets is even harder to justify.


We are now encouraging all GDPs to contact their MPs. The team have worked to secure a debate in parliament on the support for practices on 7 January. So, if you have five minutes, write to your MP to make your case that NHS England must change tack, and encourage them to attend and speak up against these targets. You can find the email details of your MP here.


We are asking members to make three key points in their message:


1. These targets are the wrong choice, at the wrong time. COVID rates are surging, and many patients will understandably be reluctant to attend. Equally, why are ministers encouraging potentially unsafe volumes of patients into practices?


2. These targets are bad for practices and bad for patients. Set out the challenges you face meeting these targets given current restrictions, and the impact this will have on your practice. Explain how perverse targets will force dentists to focus on routine cases over a huge backlog of urgent cases that need priority.


3. Get them to take action. Ask your MP to write to Minister for Dentistry Jo Churchill insisting these targets are abandoned and attend the debate on 7 January to speak up for better support for practices.


If you are sending a message copy in and the team can follow up your email with some detailed briefing.





COVID-19 PPE reimbursements for dentists


The Department of Health and Social Care has said that NHS dentists in primary care can claim for additional PPE costs experienced up to 31 December.


The information, which can be found on the Government's website makes the following points:


  • Dental contractors will be able to submit claims for COVID-19 PPE purchased between 27 February 2020 and 31 December 2020 for use in the delivery of NHS dental services as a result of COVID-19 infection control guidance.
  • There will be no further entitlement to reimbursement for PPE purchased after 31 December 2020 as that supply via central channels has been fully extended to all providers delivering NHS clinical services through the e-Portal channel. Standard COVID-19 PPE items for dental contractors are defined as:
    •  type IIR masks
    •  FFP2/3 masks
    •  gowns (sterile and non-sterile)
    •  aprons
    •  gloves
    •  eye protection (visors and goggles)
    •  hand sanitiser
    •  clinical waste bags
  • Activity modelling for thresholds underpinning ‘standard’ claims considers the dental operating model and contracting arrangements throughout different periods of the pandemic.
  • The period in which dental contractors can submit claims via the COMPASS portal will be announced soon and is expected to be as soon as possible. Contractors will receive further information confirming the go live date and arrangements for submitting a claim.





Associate ‘side agreement’ for potential new England UDA targets


Associates and practice owner members are encouraged to stand by to update their arrangements ahead of potential new UDA targets for the last quarter of 2020-2021.


On Thursday 17 December, we confirmed that we were refusing to sign up to a deal which could see practices face steep financial penalties if they are unable to hit 45% of their pre-pandemic UDA targets. Should NHS England impose these unacceptable expectations, we recommend members document their agreement for the period using a ‘side agreement’.


Members: Download this fourth quarter side agreement for England


We will update and advise members if and when NHS England confirms its plans.





England: NHS survey on wellbeing of primary care workers


NHS England and NHS Improvement invite you to take part in a survey which aims to understand the wellbeing of the primary care workforce through the COVID-19 pandemic.


The survey, which should take roughly 15 minutes, is part of the Institute for Employment Studies’ ongoing work (and follows on from a previous survey earlier this year) in a bid to gauge how the situation is changing over time.





Dentists and eligibility for the COVID-19 vaccine


We continue to raise the issue of when dentists and dental teams are likely to receive COVID-19 vaccination. Those aged 80 and over, and care home staff and residents are being vaccinated first. Frontline within health and social care are included in the next priority group. We have been told consistently that dentists and their teams, both in the NHS and in the private sector, are included in that planning.


We have specifically raised the status of private dentistry. NHS England has told us that the provisional guidance on vaccination, the Green Book (page 10), includes those in independent practice in its definition of healthcare staff.


We do not know yet when the prioritisation will move to the wider frontline health and social care groups. We will update you when more information becomes available.





Scotland: Looking towards 2021


Phil Grigor, Director of BDA Scotland, takes stock of 2020’s successes and challenges and looks ahead to 2021.


"This has been a manically busy year. But with Christmas and New Year around the corner, I think it’s a good time to step back and take stock of what we’ve achieved together. In 2020, we faced unprecedented challenges, but I’m proud to say that we also had some notable successes. Now as we look towards 2021, we plan to build on what we’ve achieved as we continue to fight for dentists and dentistry."






Northern Ireland: What you need to know about Brexit


In a recent blog, Tristen Kelso, tells us what dentists in Northern Ireland need to know about Brexit.


"We are fast approaching the end of the post-Brexit transition period. At the time of writing, negotiations between UK and EU authorities are continuing on a future trade deal. However, it is now clear, that Brexit is likely to affect dentists in Northern Ireland more than any other part of the UK."


Find out what urgent changes you may need to make to continue operating and what you need to know about issues such as cost and availability of supplies, the EU Settlement Scheme and frontier workers permits.






Tomorrow's webinar: New UDA targets - What you need to know


Members: Join our webinar on UDA targets  tomorrow, from 13:00 - 14:00, to hear about the background to the negotiations with NHS England. We’ll also examine the practical implications for practice owners and associate, and answer your questions.


The number of attendees for this live session is limited to 1,000 registrants. Should you miss out on a ‘seat’ for the live session we’ll be sharing a recording shortly afterwards. CPD will not apply for the session and certificates will not be issued.


For more information: