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 25 January 2021

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

Friday 29 January 2021



Video: The impact of COVID-19 on dentistry


Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have done all we can to support the profession. We are the first dental organisation that government ministers will liaise with and we represent you when and where it matters.


As the pandemic continues, and while we still have many issues to overcome, we will continue to work with you and continue to fight for you.


Because together, we are stronger.





England: Government must drop the unrealistic targets on NHS practices


Today we have issued an open letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock following BBC revelations that a leading UK dental chain has instructed dentists to limit urgent care in order to meet unrealistic targets imposed by on NHS dental providers on 1 January 2021.


In a leaked memo, staff at the chain have been told by management to prioritise routine check-ups over patients requiring urgent treatment. We believe this approach is the inevitable result of the government policy, which Portsmouth MP Stephen Morgan recently told Parliament will force practices to “prioritise volume over need.”


We have reiterated our call to Mr Hancock to drop these targets immediately, and re-enter negotiations.

The Scottish Government, which had planned to impose similar targets on practitioners in Scotland – albeit at less than half the level expected of their English colleagues – has decided to delay their introduction until at least June in the light of surging infection rates and tighter restrictions. The Welsh Government has not introduced any activity targets at all.


Shawn Charlwood, the newly elected Chair of our General Dental Practice Committee has said: “This is not a model of care we could ever deem acceptable during a pandemic. However, it is the inevitable logic of a policy this Government has imposed on NHS dentists across England”.





England: CDO urges COVID-19 vaccine as soon as you can

All England Chief Officers, including the Chief Dental Officer for England, Sara Hurley, have today emailed frontline health and social care workers urging them to get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible.


Attached to the latest primary care bulletin, the message to healthcare workers is that vaccinating frontline teams against COVID-19 is an absolute and immediate priority.


NHS staff do not require an NHS number or GP registration to receive a vaccination and should never be denied one on this basis, either in person when presenting for a vaccine, or through booking systems.


In regard to locums, the message is that all locum/agency/bank staff across the health and care system can access vaccination via the local hospital hub. They may also be vaccinated alongside the clinical teams where they are working or in a pharmacy-led Local Vaccination Centre.





England: PPE complaints and enquiries


A new email address and phone number are now being managed centrally by the national PPE allocation team to provide a central log of all PPE related complaints and enquiries: and 020 3747 0900.


If any providers have a Clipper delivery issue such as late or non-delivery or the wrong product delivered, you should firstly call the Unipart line (0800 876 6802) and get the reference number, as this is how Unipart manage and resolve any Clipper delivery issues.


However, if you also send complaints to (or lodge them with 020 3747 0900), it will help the NHS to collate complaints across the country. This team can also answer questions or queries about a particular product (eg, what are the specifications, is it latex free, washing instructions etc.).



Thursday 28 January 2021



Scotland: Budget sees small increase for GDS


This afternoon the Scottish Government published its Scottish Budget 2021-22. It includes the commitment to: "provide £431 million for general dental services [in 2021-22], helping to support their recovery, accelerate the reform programme for NHS dental services, and take forward a new model of preventive oral health care for NHS patients."


We note that the GDS budget sees a rise of just 0.6% (£2.4 million). This is an increase from £428.6 million in 2020-21, to £431.0 million in 2021-22. And it follows an increase of 2.9% (£12.0 million) last year. This will go some way towards supporting the service in this tumultuous time, we are concerned that it does not go far enough. We will continue to campaign on behalf of health service and private dentists in Scotland, to ensure your voices are heard and your concerns taken seriously.





Webinar: Emergencies in the dental practice


Login in to watch our new webinar on medical emergencies in a dental practice. Recently recorded, it's free to members and just £30 to DCPs. It will provide you with an overview of emergency planning, show you how to recognise a medical emergency and explain the latest CPR guidance from the Resuscitation Council UK.






Wales: Update on quarter four targets


We can now confirm that there is no set AGP target for Q4 - numbers are expected to be in keeping with the size of the contract and the ACORN status of the patient base. This comes after close engagement with the Chief Dental Officer for Wales.


We now know that new patients can be seen by any performer at the practice, and the contract value will include any DFT funding. We are still awaiting clarification around specifics including EDS contracts. We have continued to raise that appointment availability may hamper practices in continually seeing new patients and that the needs of an existing patient base are vitally important.


The CDO has also said that 76% of FP17W included an ACORN assessment between April and December 2020.


We continue to stress the need for piloting and testing of any proposed contract changes beyond April 2021, so that colleagues have the chance to review alterations at the earliest opportunity. The restart of the Bangor University evaluation is welcomed, but on-going scrutiny from dental practices teams is essential. We do not wish to see any contract imposed on the profession, and so we remain committed to working with Welsh Government within the contract reform process on your behalf.





Wales: Update on dental foundation training contracts


We have seen and commented on several versions of the proposed Health Education Improvement Wales (HEIW) training placement agreement for use between HEIW and the host dental practice. We have shared the document as it currently stands with our legal team and have sought further clarification from HEIW in regard to our outstanding concerns.


We will continue to update you on the progress of the agreement once we know more from HEIW.





Have you been affected by people who think COVID-19 is a hoax?


The Guardian is currently reaching out to all UK healthcare staff who’ve had to deal with security issues or conspiracy theories from people who do not believe in COVID-19. If you or your dental team have encountered these attitudes you may wish to take part.


Some of the questions being asked include: have hoaxes and conspiracy theories about coronavirus affected your work? Have you had to treat patients or deal with loved ones who do not believe COVID-19 is real? Have you experienced any related security issues in the workplace or anywhere else?





Dental students: The latest on Dental Foundation Training


In a recent blog, the Chair of the BDA Students Committee, Paul Blaylock discusses the latest on entry to Dental Foundation Training and how it’s been affected by the pandemic:


"Undergraduates are the dental professionals of the future and we couldn't be more impressed with how they've coped with the past year and the upheaval in their training. I know that some students have provided valuable volunteering support throughout the pandemic, and many have persevered with their studies in face of considerable uncertainty and disruption. However, delays and concerns remain.


"That’s why we, the BDA Students Committee, met with Peter Briggs, Lead Dean for DFT at Health Education England (HEE), on 13 January to find out what we can expect in the months ahead."






Guidance on AGPs updated but unchanged


The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) have issued an update to their ‘Rapid Review of the Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry’ within a new appendix and as a standalone document.


The four nation Working Group considered the implications of the substantial increase in prevalence of COVID-19 infections in recent months, the emergence of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2, no reports of transmission associated with dental care, the greater availability of testing and the vaccination programme that has recently commenced.


However, the Working Group agreed that at present, despite these developments, the agreed positions and other conclusions within the Rapid Review remain unchanged. The latest standard operating procedures are therefore unchanged in your area and the dental IPC guidance remains the benchmark for safe practice and quality care.





Even once vaccinated, full PPE is essential


Despite the progress that has begun to be made regarding the vaccine roll-out, it is essential that dentists and dental teams continue to follow the infection control guidance currently in place. Even if you and your team have been vaccinated, you should continue to follow universal precautions.


There are several reasons for this. As government guidance states, it may take a week or two for your body to build up some protection from the first dose of vaccine. We also know that some people may still get COVID-19 despite having a vaccination, and while this should be less severe, taking precautions reduces this risk.


More importantly, while a full course of the vaccine will reduce your chance of becoming seriously ill, it is not yet known whether it will stop you from catching and passing on the virus. It is expected to reduce this risk, however, until more is known you should continue to follow the guidance to help reduce transmission and protect those around you.


For more information about vaccination and dentistry see our FAQs.



Wednesday 27 January 2021



England: Guidance for Q4 reporting issued


NHS BSA have issued guidance on Q4 reporting. This details the new Q4 activity report that has been published on Compass and is designed to help practices keep on top of where they are in relation to Q4 activity.


These reports are specifically for quarter four and are different to the usual monthly schedules which report mid-month. A performer version of the report is still in development. We will update you when more information becomes available.





Scotland: Dental students given chance to contribute to NHS


Today the Scottish Government has written to all healthcare students about opportunities to join the bank of healthcare workers at their local NHS Boards. This is optional and open to dental students, though the opportunities available to you will vary between Boards depending on local requirements.


Students who are employed by the NHS will have access to the same resources as staff, including PPE and access to vaccinations and testing. Many students will be delighted to be given this opportunity, but as the letter states, completing your studies should remain of paramount importance.





Scotland: £500 COVID payment guidance for NHS staff


The Scottish Government has issued guidance to NHS staff following the First Minister’s announcement in November that all health and care staff would receive a £500 one-off payment for helping Scotland cope with the pandemic.


The guidance aims to address concerns about how the payment would affect those receiving certain benefits, and how to opt out of receiving the payment. NHS Boards will issue further information to make their staff aware of the opt-out provisions set out in the guidance.


We have been advised that the Scottish Government will soon issue similar guidance for independent contractors, including GDPs. We wil update you when we have more information.





Northern Ireland: Financial support and PPE


A £300m underspend in the NI Executive budget has emerged, and so this morning, we have written to the Health Minister calling for more funding to be made available to dentistry. We have called for support with capital costs on ventilation upgrades and on PPE - Northern Ireland being the only part of the UK where GDPs have to pay for their own PPE.


We are also once again calling for support to be made available to support private dentistry, and have also addressed our letter to the Finance Minister, Minister for the Economy, Chair of the Assembly Health Committee and officials on the Health and Social Care Board and in the Department of Health. We continue to be clear and consistent in our messaging to Government and a strong voice for all dentists and dentistry in Northern Ireland. We will update you when we receive a response.





Scotland: Annual Leave arrangements for NHS staff


The Scottish Government has issued updated guidance for NHS staff on annual leave arrangements. The guidance states that, where possible, staff should aim to use their to annual leave entitlement as it is important that they are allowed time away from work to rest and recuperate. However, due to the demands on the service and with NHS Scotland remaining on emergency footing, staff may be asked to change their approved plans for annual leave, and requests for annual leave may not be approved.


Any NHS dental staff who have not taken their full annual leave entitlement in 2020-21 can carry forward all untaken leave into 2021-22.


The revised arrangements have been agreed by the Scottish Terms and Conditions Committee (STAC) and all NHS Boards are required to follow the guidelines. Given the ongoing uncertainty about the duration of the current circumstances, STAC will review annual leave arrangement every three months.





Wales: Take part in our mental health survey


We are inviting all dentists working in Wales to take part in a confidential survey, which looks at the impact of the pandemic on the mental health of dentists in Wales. This survey will provide valuable evidence for future policy work on mental health regarding dentists working in Wales.


Whether or not you feel the pandemic has affected your mental health, we are greatly interested in hearing from you, so we can gain a balanced and full picture. Please also share this link with your colleagues, as you do not need to be a member to take part.


Take the survey: Mental health of dentists in Wales



Tuesday 26 January 2021



Scotland: Progress in the vaccination training programme


Last week the Scottish Government responded to our letter regarding the overly bureaucratic COVID vaccination training programme. In their response, the Scottish Government provided details of how the training and participation processes will be simplified.


NHS Boards were informed of these new processes and instructed to register all independent contractors (including dentists) who want to take part in the vaccination programme as part of their staff banks.

Dentists are keen to contribute to the national vaccination programme and we welcome these developments.





Vaccination and pregnancy


Pregnant members of the dental team may wish to consult this explainer on COVID-19 and fertility, compiled by Victoria Male, Lecturer in Reproductive Immunology at Imperial College London. It provides evidence-based answers to questions you might have regarding the COVID-19 vaccine, pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility.


"There is no evidence that the COVID19 vaccine will reduce your chances of getting pregnant, and some evidence that it will not."


"There is no evidence that the vaccine will reduce your chances of getting pregnant later and the UK government recommends that people who are trying to get pregnant should receive the vaccine if they are otherwise eligible."


Explainer on COVID-19 vaccine, pregnancy, breastfeeding and fertility.





England: PPE reimbursement until 20 February 2021


The window for NHS practices in England to claim for PPE reimbursement is open this week and accessible until 20 February 2021. According to the guidance, no further claims will be accepted after this date.


All claims must be for COVID-19 PPE used in the provision of NHS dental services between 27 February and 31 December 2020. You can submit your claims via the PPE Reimbursement Claim Form in Compass.


More information on PPE reimbursement claims.





Northern Ireland: Upcoming forum on mental health


This week, former BDA President, Roz McMullan is speaking at the Northern Ireland Healthcare Leaders Forum. This day-long online event will focus on exploring how multidisciplinary services contribute to mental health provision in NI. It will take place on Friday at 9:30-15:30.


You can register today to attend this free event. Please do consider joining us and making your voice heard on this important issue.





Advice on seeing patients without face coverings


The safety of both staff and patients is of paramount importance and face coverings or face masks should be worn by patients in a practice setting, in-line with government guidance. However, a patient should not be refused access to care if they are unable to, or refuse to, wear a face covering.


For these patients, practices should ensure that they can take all reasonable steps to identify practical working solutions with the least risk to all involved. For example: offering the patient a mask, if the patient is willing to wear one; booking the patient into a quieter appointment slot; seeing them in a separated area, or providing care via a remote appointment.



Monday 25 January 2021



SDCEP report into AGPs: New update published


The working group behind the SDCEP rapid review into AGPs, Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry, have now published an update to the review which was originally published in September 2020.


The new and standalone appendix (available to download separately) acknowledges the significant developments over recent months, however, at this time, the conclusions of the rapid review remain unchanged. Searching for new evidence will continue.





Vaccination and the dental team


We suggest that practices discuss vaccination with all members of the dental team. Concerns about the vaccine should be discussed in good time and sensitively. The University of Bristol has produced a helpful Communications Handbook on this.


Pregnant members of the dental team are also advised to speak to their doctor before receiving the vaccine.


If after a discussion, a member of the dental team refuses to have the vaccine, the practice has to accept that decision. In any event, practices should ensure that all members of the dental team continue to adhere to the standard operating procedures and to practice policies and procedures. The situation is no different for associates.


For more information see our FAQs.





Video: The impact of COVID-19 on dentistry


Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have done all we can to support the profession. We are the first dental organisation that government ministers will liaise with and we represent you when and where it matters.


As the pandemic continues, and while we still have many issues to overcome, we will continue to work with you and continue to fight for you.


Because together, we are stronger.






Pregnancy and COVID-19: Risk assessments updated


If you are pregnant and working in a dental practice, we advise you to wear a mask and follow infection control procedures at all times, no matter your gestation. If staff follow correct procedures and wear appropriate PPE, we understand that the dental environment is a safe one and that pregnant members of the dental team can continue to work safely.


However, those who are aged over 35, in a BAME group or who have an underlying health issue are at increased risk if they are infected by COVID-19. We have updated our risk assessments for pregnant members of the dental team, in line with guidance from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG).


Members can also access our risk assessments:






Northern Ireland: HS dentistry must be financially viable


Following its acceptance of a 2.8% uplift for GDPs for 2020/21, on Friday we responded to the Department of Health, setting out the challenges that continue to face GDS, and the need for concerted efforts to make HS dentistry a financially viable proposition in its own right.