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Updates from week commencing 22 November 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 26 November 2021


Resources: Managing stress in dentistry 

If you are experiencing stress at work, know that you are not alone. 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. 


Wales: New dental IPC guidance

The joint Deputy Chief Dental Officers for Wales have published a response to the new dental IPC guidance In this they clarify what dental teams in Wales must do to carry out an appropriate risk assessment for COVID-19. They advise practices to have 10 or more air changes per hour to help minimise this risk and include a screening tool for COVID-19.


Northern Ireland: SOP remains in place until guidance review complete 

The Chief Dental Officer for Northern Ireland has this morning confirmed that existing Operational Guidance remains in force until after a review of how this guidance should be amended to reflect the new IPC Dental Appendix provisions is complete.

The group considering how the new IPC Dental Appendix provisions should apply in Northern Ireland is expected to meet shortly, after which new Guidance will be published. We will keep you updated.


England: New SOPs not a return to normal


The new standard operating procedures for dentists in England published yesterday evening will unlikely solve current patient access problems. 


It places patients on two pathways, given the likelihood of them suffering from respiratory illness. On the non-respiratory pathway patients are treated in line with pre-COVID standard infection control precautions. The respiratory pathway will remain subject to enhanced precautions, including maintaining 'fallow time' gaps of up to an hour between treatments. Screening to determine the pathway will take place both before attendance and on arrival at the practice. 


We anticipate a relatively high proportion of the population may find themselves on the respiratory pathway as the country heads into winter. BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said: "We cannot realistically expect a return to 'business as usual' as we head into winter given surging rates of respiratory disease. These new guidelines may help increase patient volumes but will barely make a dent into the unprecedented backlogs we now face. Without needed support from government we will continue to struggle to deliver for the patients that need us."

Thursday 25 November 2021


Northern Ireland: Patient registrations extended until 31 March

An extension of patient registrations until the end of March 2022 has been confirmed by The Department of Health, Health and Social Care Board and Business Services Organisation.

If the patient registration was originally set to expire between 12 March 2020 and 31 December 2021, these will be extended to at least 31 March 2022. Any registrations that were not due to expire will be extended by an additional three months. As such, any patient who has attended or had their registration updated since 12 March 2018 will remain registered until at least 31 March 2022.

GDS has asked that your practice systems are updated to accommodate this rollover of patient registrations with a general rule of thumb that patients who have attended since 12 March 2018 should remain registered until at least the end of the financial year. HSCB will issue a further update next month. We will keep you updated.


Dental students: Have your say

The BDA Benevolent Fund is looking to learn more about dental students and needs your help. If you are a student, please take part in their survey on financial and wellbeing issues and encourage others to do so.

Before the pandemic less than 10% of applications to the BDA Benevolent Fund were from dental students. This increased massively during the pandemic and now 45% of applications have been from students.

This survey will help the BDA Benevolent Fund to further support students. It will take you 10-15 minutes to complete.


England: Booster jabs in time for Christmas 

As we get closer to Christmas, the Government are urging people to get booked in for your booster jab to protect yourself and others over the festive season. In England, eligible staff can book online through the National Booking Service

A study on the effectiveness of booster vaccines by the UK Health Security Agency shows top-up jabs boost protection back up to over 90% against COVID. This means, if you have your booster jab by 11 December, you'll have high protection against COVID in time for Christmas Day.


Scotland: Tackling abusive behaviour towards dental teams

The Scottish Government have launched a Healthcare Worker Respect Campaign to tackle increased levels of violent and abusive behaviour from patients towards dental staff. Following reports from members, we had previously raised this problem with the Scottish Government and urged them to develop a public messaging campaign.

The toolkit contains: 

  • Social media assets for your practice 
  • Posters discouraging unacceptable patient behaviour, which can be printed and displayed in your practice 
  • Posters for staff-only areas, which encourage staff to report abusive behaviour. 

We welcome the Scottish Government listening to members' concerns and producing a practical kit which dental practices, dental hospitals and the Public Dental Service can use to help combat this problem.

Wednesday 24 November 2021


Mouth Cancer Action Month: Join our free webinar


November is Mouth Cancer Action Month and tonight we're holding a free webinar for the whole dental team to learn more about Head and neck cancer: the red flag symptoms to watch out for.


Join us this evening, Wednesday 24 November at 19:30 to discuss:

  • How to recognise symptoms of oral cancer
  • Recent advances in cancer treatment
  • The impact of COVID-19 on referrals and treatment.

By spotting the signs and symptoms early, we can prevent some cases from happening and improve early diagnosis rates.


Updated dental appendix published

The updated dental appendix to the government's new infection prevention and control guidance for healthcare settings has now been published. Key changes include:

  • Removal of the 3 distinct COVID-19 care pathways (high, medium and low)
  • Use of a screening tool to place patients on either a non-respiratory or a respiratory pathway; revert to standard infection control precautions for the non-respiratory pathway
  • Reduction of physical distancing requirements to at least 1 metre for the non-respiratory pathway.

Other recommendations from the previous guidance remain in place:


  • Organisations and employers should assess, manage and monitor risk based on the measures prioritised in the hierarchy of controls
  • All patients should be screened for COVID-19
  • Universal masking/face coverings to remain for staff and patients within dental settings
  • Patients with suspected or confirmed respiratory infection should have non-urgent treatment deferred if clinically appropriate
  • Patients on the respiratory pathway whose treatment cannot be deferred should be segregated or isolated from other patients
  • Two metres physical distancing should continue for patients on the respiratory pathway.

We now await the publication of standard operating procedures to define the detailed approach to applying this guidance in each UK nation. Until such time as new SOPs are published, please continue to use those currently in place. 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 new report, 'Kicking out junk food' shows how 2021'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: Clinical waste collection decision suspended in Borders


Members working in NHS Borders received notification that clinical and sharps waste uplift services from dental practices would be withdrawn from 1 January 2022. We raised concerns with National Services Scotland and they have informed us that the Board have decided to review the decision. Further discussions on this issue are taking place within the Board at present. We will keep you updated on this situation as it unfolds.





BDA elections: Vote now


The 2021 BDA Board, Committee and Council elections are now open. You can find the full list of candidates on our elections page.


Elections for the BDA Board must be done by paper ballot. Ballots are being delivered to all full members and will be sent to the address at which you receive your BDJ. If you have not received a ballot form by 8 December and are eligible to vote, please email to request a replacement form. Ballots must be returned by Thursday 16 December.


Committee and council elections use online ballots, we will email eligible members and provide them with a vote. If you haven't yet received an email ballot, please check that your e-mail provider has not inadvertently categorised it as spam. Ballots close on Friday 3 December.


Please ensure you return your ballot in good time, to ensure your vote counts.



Tuesday 23 November 2021



New IPC guidance published


The UK Government has updated its wider infection prevention and control guidance. The three covid pathways – high, medium and low risk - have now been removed and replaced with respiratory and non-respiratory. Recommendations for social distancing have also been reduced to 1 metre from 2 metres.


An update to the dental appendix is expected soon and it will fall to the various UK administrations to determine how they might adjust their own standard operating procedures as a result. We will keep you updated.





Antibiotics: Not a cure for toothache

This Antimicrobial Awareness Week we 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.



Infection prevention and control guidance

We are anticipating that the UK Government will update its infection prevention and control guidance imminently, both for general healthcare and dental settings. This follows from a consultation held last month about moving to a new two-pathway approach to IPC, with respiratory and non-respiratory pathways. The consultation set out an intention for a more routine IPC approach for patients on the non-respiratory pathway.

Once this new IPC guidance is published, it will then be for the various UK administrations to determine how they might adjust their own standard operating procedures as a result.

Some confusion has been caused that the government webpage for the dental appendix shows an update as of yesterday's date. But this is not the new guidance, rather the existing publication.

We will update you when the new guidance is published.


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.

Monday 22 November 2021


Podcast: Entrepreneurship in dentistry

On our podcast, three dentists who each run their own business chat to us about what it's like to take the leap.

They discuss the obstacles, the rewards and answer our most pressing questions such as - when is the right time to do it? What are the right motivations? And, is it worth it?

Our guests have all taken risks to own their businesses including: taking over an independent practice, building a ten-site empire and creating a digital start-up.

Join us for a frank and open conversation about entrepreneurship as a career choice in dentistry.

"We know dentistry inside out. We may not be financially trained or have done MBAs, but we know dentistry. We know patients, we know patient care."

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


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.


Confidential counselling and emotional support

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. Support includes:

  • Life support: Unlimited access to counselling, a pathway to structured telephone counselling for you or your dependents and for you face-to-face counselling sessions at your convenience
  • Legal information: Advice for you on any issues, including debt management, accountancy, lawsuits, consumer disputes, property or neighbour disputes
  • Bereavement support: Experienced counsellors who can help with grief and related stress plus a team of legal advisors to help with legal issues
  • CBT online: We recognise the value of self-help tools in dealing with a range of issues, which is why we have a range of CBT self-help modules, informative factsheets and invaluable advice videos from leading qualified counsellors.


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.


Wales: Restart of the GDS reform programme

We are working to provide a voice for dentists within the General Dental Services (GDS) reform process, which was stalled due to the pandemic but is now being restarted. Indeed, we recently attended the first meeting for the Stakeholder Engagement Workstream (SEW) group. Here are some key takeaways:

  • All practices with NHS contracts will be part of the contract reform programme, which will be effective from 1 April 2022
  • The restart of the GDS reform process from 1 April 2022 has no direct bearing on the GDS contract conditions from 1 April 2022
  • The GDS regulations for FY2022-23 will remain as current – there will be no return to UDAs
  • We have asked that the GDS contract expectations from 1 April 2022 be communicated at the earliest opportunity.

We will update you as the programme evolves.