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Updates from week commencing 23 November 2020

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

Friday 27 November 2020



BDA Board election results: 2021-23


The results for the BDA's Board (Principal Executive Committee)  elections have been confirmed and we are pleased to announce the following results for the 2021-23 triennium.

The successful candidates are:







New PEC members will take up their mandate on 1 January 2021 alongside the other sitting members.


*Lauren Harrhy, by virtue of winning a by-election held alongside the annual election, will serve from 27 November until 31 December 2022.


The board, officially known as the Principal Executive Committee (PEC), agrees the strategy, policy and business operational plans for the Association, and holds the Chief Executive and his staff to account for their implementation. Elections to the BDA's board take place in the autumn of every year with a third of all 15 seats available for nominations. This year there were two UK-wide seats available and four regional seats. A total of 37 candidates stood for election.





Dentistry in the news this week


We're speaking to national and local media daily to represent you and your interests. Here's some of the coverage we've received this week:


  • BBC Radio 4's You and Yours: We joined the BBC's consumerism programme in order to highlight the impact of COVID on waiting lists for orthodontic treatment, with input from the parents of children affected, and the British Orthodontic Society (BOS).
  • The Sun: We made the point that dentists are “health professionals, not tax collectors” in the tabloid's feature on the rising cost of dental treatments.
  • BBC Reporting Scotland:  Chair of Scotland Dental Practice Committee, David McColl, explained why the NHS model of care isn’t sustainable for modern dentistry. In his interview, David reiterated the point that practices can't afford to run this service with NHS funding  - and may turn private.

We will continue to voice your concerns in the media and campaign on your behalf.





Northern Ireland: Clarification on CDS enhanced rate


The Department of Health has provided additional clarification on how the new CDS enhanced rate for additional hours will work in practice, following our correspondence with the Workforce Policy unit.


Where time off in lieu has already been taken against additional hours worked at single rate, a dentist may choose to either take payment of the balance due (the extra 0.33%), or additional time off to reflect the enhanced rate i.e. a six-hour shift would equate to an eight-hour time credit.


Going forward, dentists providing additional cover (i.e. outside of contracted hours) will receive payment at the rate of time plus one third. A dentist may choose, instead of payment, to take time off in lieu at the enhanced rate (eight hours for six worked).



Thursday 26 November 2020



Understanding your well-being in a COVID-19 world


Stress and mental well-being are both very important issues in dentistry, particularly in the current climate. Earlier this summer, our President, Roz Mc Mullan hosted a webinar to help you recognise the signs of stress and learn how to prevent it.


We have since made this one-hour webinar free to view, whether you're a member, a non-member or a DCP. It will help you to:


  • Understand signs and symptoms of stress and burnout
  • Explore the prevalence of stress in dentistry and what we know about COVID-19 and well-being
  • Gain knowledge of psychological effects on healthcare staff when experiencing a pandemic
  • Be aware of evidence-based prevention and coping strategies during a pandemic
  • Know how to signpost for people experiencing stress and burnout and which organisations are available for support.





BDA museum: Collecting and COVID-19


Our museum has been researching stories and identifying objects to collect in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These items will provide a permanent record for future generations of medical, cultural and personal responses to the outbreak and chronicling its impact on society.


We have been collating NHS, government, BDA advice and newspaper articles but we are keen to document the pandemic and its effect on dentistry through objects. If you have any photographs, PPE equipment, health and safety equipment, signage to donate, then please get in touch:


Or if you would like to hear more about the work of the BDA museum, you can sign up to receive their monthly newsletter by logging in and changing your communications preferences.





Northern Ireland: Your views on dental nurse training


We have been invited to provide feedback from the profession about how the current dental nurse training qualifications are working from an employer’s perspective. And so, we are reaching out to dentists in Northern Ireland to ask for your views on dental nurse training qualifications.


Please complete this online survey to share your views on this important topic. Your responses will feed into a once in five years review of the area, which is being undertaken in conjunction with the regional colleges. We would be grateful if you could provide your views on the current qualifications.





Northern Ireland: Coverage of your concerns


We are pleased to see the considerable coverage of dentistry and dental issues in the Belfast News Letter this week. Our work and research featured in many of these pieces, which focus on financial viability, private dentistry, access to care and oral cancer:


  • Financial sustainability: Even before COVID, Dragon’s Den would have laughed at dentistry as a proposal
  • Private dentistry: Department for Economy turns down appeal for support for private side of dentistry
  • Financial support: Dentists are only NHS workers living on their savings during pandemic
  • Oral cancer: NI mouth cancer spike – sexually transmitted HPV virus linked to tonsil cancer
  • Access to care: Coronavirus: 100,000 NI dental patients could lose all access to care



Wednesday 25 November 2020



Your concerns discussed in Parliament


Earlier today, MPs questioned the Health Minister on support available to dentists through the pandemic, access to dentistry and widening oral health inequalities. The debate was secured by Judith Cummins MP, Vice-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Dentistry and Oral Health to which the BDA provides secretariat.


Quoting our figures, Ms Cummins stressed dentistry has reached a crisis point and urged the Minister to take immediate steps to protect dental practices and improve oral health outcomes. She called on the Government to provide capital grants to help practices buy high-capacity ventilation equipment to reduce fallow time, exempt them from business rates, bring down waiting times for dental treatment in hospitals and invest in prevention. She also sought assurances that the activity targets for NHS contract holders will not be increased in the coming months. We were pleased to see her emphasize that the return of UDAs would be a disaster in the present circumstances and call on the Minister to work with the BDA to bring forward a reformed new contract.


Other MPs echoed her calls raising issues with access to dentistry across the country, the need for oral health education and challenged the Minister to make oral health services an equal partner in the provision of healthcare.


Jo Churchill MP, the Health Minister responsible for dentistry, expressed her gratitude to dentists and their teams for their hard work in this difficult period. Referring to her meeting with the BDA last week, she said she had heard our messages and was working with her officials on what can be done to help dentistry through the pandemic, including through testing and potential financing for ventilation equipment. We will continue to update you on our work on your behalf in Parliament.





Northern Ireland: Clinical Audit and Peer Review extension


The Chair of the Clinical Audit and Peer Review Assessment Panel, Paul Brennan, has confirmed an extension to the current pause in the three year cycle for the completion of a clinical audit or peer review by GDS practitioners. This pause will now be extended to at least March 2021.


Peer Review will help to ensure that practitioners remain up to date, engaged and supported particularly those who are operating in increasing isolation. Information regarding the Clinical Audit and Peer Review process, including an advice sheet and application forms, are available online.





Clarity sought following Chancellor's spending review


This afternoon the Chancellor set out his spending review for the year ahead, following the unprecedented downturn in the economy caused by COVID since March.


There was not a great amount of initial detail on how this may impact dentistry, but we have pulled out a few highlights:


  • Bucking the trend of a general public sector pay freeze, nurses, doctors and others working in the NHS will receive a pay rise. We are seeking urgent clarification as to whether this will apply to dental practitioners, who have seen a real-terms pay cut over the past decade.
  • A £2.3 billion capital investment fund for the NHS has been announced for COVID recovery. We will use this announcement to continue to push for capital investment in ventilation for dental surgeries in order to reduce the fallow time and get more patients through the door.
  • Conspicuous by its absence was public health. Nothing was earmarked in terms of grants to local authorities for public health projects. We joined with leading health groups to make clear to the Chancellor that failure to address years of savage cuts is a false economy. Projects such as supervised tooth-brushing for children are essential to mitigate the effects of increasingly poor access to NHS dentistry now prevalent throughout much of England, due to the double whammy of COVID restrictions and a failed contract.

We will keep you posted as we continue to fight on your behalf for a better deal for dentists.





Life support training for dental professionals


The General Dental Council and the Care Quality Commission are reminding dentists and dental teams to update their knowledge and skills in resuscitation. Indeed, Resuscitation Council UK recommends this is done at least annually in their document Quality Standards: Primary Dental Care.


It's essential for dentists and their teams to have access to life support training. But with the pandemic restrictions in place, it may be more difficult for dental professionals to access Basic Life Support (BLS) and Immediate Life Support (ILS) training this year. We encourage you to use online resources during this time, and to record and evidence your efforts made to access training.





Supporting your recovery after COVID-19


Dentists and dental teams across the country are grappling with the effects of COVID-19. The NHS has provided resources for those who are recovering from COVID-19, to support those coming to terms with the impact the virus can have on the body and mind. If you have been diagnosed with COVID-19, Your COVID Recovery should help you to understand what you might expect as part of your recovery.



Tuesday 24 November 2020



Northern Ireland: Our latest submission to the Health Committee


Our latest submission to the Assembly Health Committee on the revised operational guidance in Northern Ireland outlines the ongoing significant challenges within dentistry. Today we sent this submission to all MLA's in order to press the fact that dentistry is far from business as usual and to provide insight for the many Assembly questions tabled on dentistry issues.


Read our latest submission to the NIA Health Committee





Level up public health at the 2020 Spending Review


Tmorrow's spending review will see the government set out how its plans for spending on public services in the coming year. So today, we have joined forces with 49 other organisations, including Cancer Research and the Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH), to call Rishi Sunak to level up of public health funding in the face of the worst public health crisis of our time.


Sustained cuts to local public health have been a false economy. Together with our allies we've told the Chancellor that unless we boost local public health funding, our health system will remain locked in an unsustainable  'treatment' approach.


Public health grants to local councils fell by £700 million between 2015/16 and 2019/20, and single biggest areas for cuts have been miscellaneous services, including dental public health. Government modelling shows preventive programmes like supervised toothbrushing can pay for themselves. Paediatric tooth extractions currently cost the NHS more than £40 million a year.





Webinar: Dental materials and COVID-19


Book your place for Thursday's webinar on dental materials and COVID-19 today. It will take place from 19.30 - 20.30. Members can attend for free, non-members can attend for £50 and DCPs for £30. The webinar will:


  • Help you understand the value of choosing the correct, high-quality material for a given clinical situation
  • Outline the latest information on bonding to dentine and the survival of resin composite materials
  • Evaluate which restoration types may adversely affect the lifespan of the restored tooth.





Have you posted your ballot?


Ballots close at noon on Thursday in BDA Board elections. If you have not yet returned your ballot by post, please do so immediately.


This year, 14 candidates are standing for the four regional seats, and 34 candidates for the two UK-wide seats available. You can find the candidates’ election statements on our elections page.


Ballot papers have been delivered to all full members (to the address at which you receive your BDJ). If you have already returned yours, thank you for voting!





Supporting you to audit antibiotic prescribing


Dentists have an important role to play in the fight against antimicrobial resistance. To support you to safeguard antimicrobials during this challenging time, we recommend you download this antibiotic prescribing tool. It is designed to help dentists to do a simple audit of your antibiotic prescribing actions, or do a more comprehensive review of your management of dental infections.


This tool was developed by the Dental Subgroup of ESPAUR, which includes representatives from the BDA, FGDP, ACOM and BASCD. It was designed to be used with the FGDP's Antimicrobial Prescribing for GDPs (available free from the BDA Library for members), to ensure you are prescribing according to the current guidance. It is an MS Excel (.xlsm) spreadsheet, and so we recommend downloading the file to a desktop computer (right-click and 'save as') to use it.





Antibiotics: Information for your patients


There has been a surge in dental prescriptions for antibiotics during the COVID-19 pandemic, with access to face-to-face dental care severely limited.


That's why, we’re sharing resources to support you to educate your patients on the dangers of the inappropriate use of antibiotics. This “Antibiotics don’t cure toothache” poster and patient information leaflet may also help you to push back against the pressure to prescribe them, where they are not clinically indicated.


We encourage you to share these resources with your patients in whatever way you feel is appropriate, whether via your social media channels, newsletters, in your practice and across your website. A version for Scottish practices is also available: Scottish poster and Scottish patient leaflet.



Monday 23 November 2020



This is the wrong time for increased NHS charges

We have strongly criticised the latest 5% increase in NHS dental charges in England announced today. We are concerned that it sees the government erecting further barriers to care during the COVID pandemic, when services remain so limited and focused on dealing with an unprecedented backlog. The increase means:


  • A routine check-up will increase by £1.10 from £22.70 to £23.80
  • Treatments such as root canals or removing teeth will rise by £3.10 from £62.10 to £65.20
  • More complex procedures like crowns, dentures and bridges rise from by £13.50 from £269.30 to £282.80.

The fee increase, originally slated for 1 April, was postponed by the first wave of the pandemic, will now take effect from 14 December 2020. Dave Cottam, Chair of the British Dental Association’s General Dental Practice said: "Slapping higher charges on patients struggling to secure care in the middle of a pandemic is utterly wrongheaded. This inflation-busting hike won’t put an extra penny into a service in crisis or help millions currently unable to get an appointment."





Supreme Court and business interruption insurance


The Supreme Court appeal hearing regarding business interruption insurance ended last week. We are still awaiting their judgement on the case. Lord Reed recognised the importance of an early judgment for the businesses affected. He said that the Justices would do what they could to provide judgment as quickly as possible, but could not comment on whether that would be before Christmas or in January. In the meantime, you can watch the appeal hearing in the Supreme Court here. We will update you when we have more information.





COVID-19 vaccination programme looking for staff in England


The COVID-19 Vaccination Programme is aiming to set up a safe and effective service for the mass delivery of COVID-19 vaccinations. As part of this, they are looking to hire vaccinators, clinical supervisors and healthcare professionals.


Dentists and team members are free to apply to work as part of the programme. It appears that this will be entirely separate from existing clinical commitments and take place outside of dental practices. However, we are seeking clarification on a number of issues, in particular indemnity arrangements. We will update you when more information is available.





What you can do about antimicrobial resistance


Prescriptions for antibiotics spiked during the first phase of the pandemic. In England, 25% more prescriptions for antibiotics were issued between April and July 2020 than in the same period last year, and in London there was a 60% increase. While in Northern Ireland, there was a 64% increase in prescriptions for antimicrobials between February and its peak June in this year.


That's why, this World Antibiotics Awareness Week, Dr Susie Sanderson is taking stock and asking how dentists can get back to making progress in the fight against antimicrobial resistance:


"With the first wave of the pandemic behind us, higher stocks of PPE in our surgeries and more comprehensive guidance in place, I believe it is time for dentists to prioritise antimicrobial resistance once again. Let's get back to business as usual in terms of antibiotics, even if the reality of our lives and in our dental surgeries continues to be far from normal."





Marking World Antimicrobial Awareness Week


This World Antimicrobial Awareness Week, we’ve joined with the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK) and the Association of Clinical Oral Microbiologists (ACOM) to reiterate that prudent prescribing of antimicrobials can slow down the further development of antimicrobial resistance, and that dental teams have a vital role to play.

World Antimicrobial Awareness Week


The COVID-19 spike in antibiotic prescriptions threatens the phenomenal progress dentists have made in reducing these numbers in recent years. That’s why, we’re calling on dentists to be supported to reduce the number of antibiotics prescribed, so that we can return to the progress that was underway before the outbreak of COVID-19.


We’ve asked government to commit to properly funded urgent care slots to reduce the need for antibiotics prescriptions. We’ve also set out our case for capital funding for practices to deliver the ventilation systems that can reduce fallow time and expand access. E-prescribing would help us to monitor dental antibiotic prescribing. Concrete steps like these are needed to support the fight against antimicrobial resistance.





Contact tracing and your practice


Dentists and their teams are reaching out to us with questions about contact tracing and the NHS COVID-19 app. Find out what you need to know in our FAQs.


  • Should I use the NHS COVID‐19 app?
  • What if a patient has COVID-19?
  • What if a staff member has COVID-19?
  • What if a staff member is asymptomatic but told to self-isolate?