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Updates from week commencing 4 October 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 8 October 2021



World Mental Health Day 2021


What are you doing to look after your mental health? This Sunday, 10 October, is World Mental Health Day making this a good moment to find out more about the mental health support services available to you.


Find out where you could go if you had money, relationship or other personal problems. Find out what services and resources you could recommend to a colleague in need.


We outline what services are available in your area on our Stress page. These include UK-wide services and specific resources for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.





Dental politics: Diverse representation matters


With the elections coming up and nominations now open for seats on our committees, Hannah Woolnough tells us why diversity is fundamental to the success of the BDA’s committees – and how you can nominate yourself for election.


“The best person to represent you won’t necessarily be a practice owner or someone with the most committee experience. We need the voices of dentists from a diverse range of backgrounds and situations. I’d like to see more dentists nominated who are balancing two kids and a part time job as an associate. Those people make up the bulk of our profession and their voices should be heard.”






Honours and awards 2021 announced


Twenty individuals are being celebrated in the latest round of the prestigious BDA Honours and Awards, for their outstanding achievements, their commitment to the BDA and their work for the dental profession. Recipients come from all sections of the profession, general practice, through to community and hospital dentistry, and across the four nations. We’re proud to honour these people and the work they have done.


Roz McMullan Chair of the BDA’s Honours and Awards Committee said: “Through these times of immense challenge and change, we are proud to be able to highlight the work of those who have gone above and beyond, making our profession better. We are proud to showcase those who have supported our causes, gone over and above for the profession, and/or given exemplary patient care.





Update on IPC guidance


Two Infection Protection and Control consultations closed this week which have the potential to be of real importance. The UK COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control Cell has been seeking views across the four UK countries on an update to the COVID-19 specific IPC guidance for the coming winter season. There has also been a separate piece of work on revising the appendix specific to dental settings.


For an overview of the proposals, read our latest blog from CEO Martin Woodrow, where he outlines potential changes and the challenges ahead.


“If enacted, default IPC provisions will revert to something much more like the pre-pandemic approach. But the onus will be on the practice to triage patients and defer treatment for those with respiratory infection symptoms, or if that isn’t appropriate, to treat patients in line with the current enhanced IPC approach.”






Northern Ireland: Delayed COVID recognition payments


Assembly Health Committee Chair, Colm Gildernew, has spoken about his frustration at the delay in COVID recognition payments for staff, including staff in dental practices (watch from 2:20). The Committee have agreed to write to the Department of Health to press for a definitive date by which outstanding staff will be paid. We continue to campaign on your behalf and will update you when progress is made.



Thursday 7 October 2021



Nominations are now open!


Nominations are now open for places on our committees and board. We have vacancies across a whole range of our committees as well as on our board of directors.


This year, we have also created specific early career seats on several committees, including key contract negotiating committees in each of the four UK nations.


Everyone is welcome. Find out which committees have open seats and put yourself forwardwith a brief statement about yourself.





CPD: Equality, diversity and inclusion


No one should be negatively affected by uncontrollable factors such as ethnicity, gender, age, sexual orientation, class or disability. That’s why, we’re encouraging members to sign up for our new Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training course.


Inclusion is about making sure that everyone has the same opportunities to achieve in life. The perspectives and insight provided by this course may support you and your practice to be more consciously inclusive, considerate and respectful of diversity.


  • Availability: BDA members
  • Content: Modules, quizzes and short videos
  • 4.5 verifiable hours CPD.





Wales: Join an open meeting of the WGDPC


Register now to sign up for the upcoming open meeting of the Welsh General Dental Practice Committee (WGDPC) on 4 November. It will include an update on ongoing work and challenges from Russell Gidney, Chair of the WGDPC. You’ll also hear about the experiences of how three practices have adapted their practices to work under the NHS recovery plans in Wales. Sign up for the chance to ask questions of the committee, raise challenges in your area and share ideas for recovery and reform.





Northern Ireland: PPE claims advice


The Department of Health has provided further advice to GDPs claiming for PPE under the new SDR Item Code 3001. The communication refers to handling claims that straddle the FSS2/FSS3 transition period. Any component of the claim relating to Level 2 PPE used prior to 9 September 2021 ‘will follow as soon as possible’.


The deadline for submitting claims has also been extended until 17:00 on 8 October, in acknowledgment of software issues some practices have experienced submitting claims under the new SDR Item code 3001. Any queries relating to this specific matter should be sent to with ‘Item Code 3001’ in the subject heading.


For those practitioners unable to submit claims in respect of code 3001 for the October 2021 payment cycle, BSO will provide guidance to all GDPs regarding the methodology for claiming any outstanding payments.



Wednesday 6 October 2021



Upcoming deadline for ARF instalments


Dentists can now opt in to pay their Annual Retention Fee (ARF) by instalments and spread the cost over the course of a year. But if you want to, you'll need to let the GDC know before the renewal period opens on 31 October. To make the change:


  • Login via your eGDC account and select the quarterly Direct Debit
  • If you choose this option, the GDC will collect four quarterly payments of £170
  • For those on a specialist list, the annual fee of £72 per speciality, will be collected in the first Direct Debit.





Wales: New mental health survey


Our new mental health survey looks at how the last six months of the pandemic has affected the profession in Wales. Please take part by Monday 25 October 2021, whether you feel the pandemic has or hasn't affected your mental health. Your opinions will help us to improve the mental health provision for dentists working in Wales.


This work follows on from a survey that we sent out in January 2021 which addressed the extent to which dentists felt their mental health had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The results of this survey have been published in BDJ In Practice, with a full research paper to be published in the BDJ later this year. The results have also been presented at the CDS Joint Forum and the Welsh Dental Committee.





NHS Pensions: Age discrimination redress


If your pension has been affected by age discrimination, NHS Pensions should reach out to you from February 2022 to remedy the situation. This will apply to you if you joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and were still a member of the scheme on 1 April 2015. 


Members who joined a public service pension scheme on or before 31 March 2012 and were still a member of the scheme on 1 April 2015 will be asked to choose their pension scheme benefits when they become payable. The legislation for the remedy is currently being prepared. Retired members and the beneficiaries of those members that are deceased will be the first to receive the information.  


Further information is available on the NHS Pensions website. If you have any questions, please contact the BDA Pensions Team on or 0207 5636897.





Advice: NHS England third quarter contracts


Our advice team have outlined what you need to know about NHS England's third quarter contracts:


Members can access this advice by signing in and if you're not a member you can join today.





Northern Ireland: Booster jabs available soon


GDPs will be able to access their COVID-19 booster doses in the next couple of weeks, the Health and Social Care Board (HSCB) has confirmed.


Dentists and other non-Trust frontline health and social care workers will be eligible to receive their booster vaccination via a local community pharmacy. Meanwhile, Trust-employed frontline health and social care workers will be invited to book their vaccination at a Trust vaccination site.


At least six months must have passed after having received your second dose before receiving the booster jab. HSCB will write to confirm the scheme details once they are finalised; we will keep you updated.



Tuesday 5 October 2021



Scotland: Calling for parliamentary review of dentistry issues


We have written to the Scottish Parliament Health, Social Care and Sport Committee to set out some of the main challenges facing dentistry, many of which preceded the pandemic and have worsened in the past 18 months.


We raised these issues at the Committee's recent oral evidence session, and have urged the Committee to explore our concerns during this Parliament. It is essential to ensure the viability of NHS dentistry in Scotland, address the colossal backlog in unmet dental care need and tackle the stark oral health inequalities in Scotland that have been exacerbated during the pandemic.





Scotland: Urging Government action on water fluoridation


We have written to the Chief Medical Officer for Scotland to welcome the recent joint statement by the four UK CMOs on water fluoridation, and to call for the Scottish Government to show real leadership on the issue.


We're campaigning for a feasibility study of the potential benefits of fluoridation for the local population in each NHS Board and investment to help facilitate its introduction where applicable.


We have long campaigned for the introduction of water fluoridation in Scotland where practical and appropriate, and will update you when progress is made.





England: Can I get a COVID-19 booster jab?


In England, both NHS and private sector health care workers are entitled to a COVID-19 booster jab. However, to be eligible you must have direct contact with people at higher risk from coronavirus (COVID-19), either in a clinical or non-clinical role. Administrative staff who do not have any direct contact with patients are not eligible.


Eligible staff are able to book their appointment online through the National Booking Service or by ringing 119. When booking, you will need to self-declare you are a frontline health worker. Staff will only be vaccinated if official proof is presented on arrival and you will be told in advance what this might be.





England: Time to reverse savage cuts on public health 


As Sajid Javid prepares to address the Conservative Party Conference this afternoon, we have joined with over fifty partners across healthcare to call time on public health cuts.


Councils received just £3.3bn to run local public health services – including dental public health activity - this year. This is £1 billion less than in 2015-16, once inflation is accounted for.


By co-signing this letter, our Chair Eddie Crouch has made clear that these savage cuts will only undermine the government's levelling up agenda on health. We are seeking an extra £1.4bn per year by 2024/25 to be provided for local public health budgets in the coming Spending Review. It's time to reverse these cuts.





England: Free flu jabs confirmed for NHS dental teams


Last week NHS England announced that NHS dental teams will be eligible for the NHS flu programme this year. Chief Dental Officer, Sara Hurley, has encouraged all dentists to take up this new offer for their own safety and our patients.


This is welcome news, and not before time. We are pressing for this to be a permanent arrangement, not a one-off.


Who is eligible?
Staff employed by primary care contractors and involved in the frontline provision of primary care services, including non-clinical staff directly who have face-to-face contact with patients.


Who is not eligible?
Any non-clinical staff not directly involved with the provision of NHS services on a day-to-day basis or do not have face-to-face contact with patients are not eligible. Primary care contractors and their frontline staff who provide private services only are also not eligible. Staff who work in private practices can be offered flu vaccination paid for by their employer under their occupational health responsibilities.



Monday 4 October 2021



Advice: Business continuity planning


Does your practice have business continuity plans? Business continuity planning involves preparing a contingency plan for situations that could seriously affect the long-term survival of your business. The COVID-19 pandemic has shown us exactly why they're so important. Our advice will help you to:


  • Identify events that could prevent your practice from opening or operating normally
  • Develop a risk matric to assess the major threats to your practice
  • Identify how to manage a crisis after an event to ensure a swift return to normal services
  • Assess the effectiveness of your plan via testing and training
  • Comply with your NHS requirements (if you hold a contract for services in England).

Members can sign in to access this advice today. If you're not yet a member, you can join for this and many other benefits.





BDA Indemnity team growing with expert talent


We welcome two more experts into our dento-legal team. Clare Lawrence and Shreeti Patel join BDA Indemnity to support members. They come with a wealth of experience, helping us expand our high-quality dentist-to-dentist service on the phone, helping respond to complaints, providing advice as well as supporting members with any claims or GDC investigations.






England: DDRB and General Practice update


The UK Government confirmed on 21 July that it accepted the Doctors and Dentists Review Body (DDRB) recommendation for a 3% uplift in pay for dentists in England. This pay uplift applies to general practice contracts as well as to dentists in employed NHS roles.


However, for general dental practice, the process is not as straightforward as simply adding 3% to contract values.


The established process is that an allowance is made for the expenses of running a practice and these expenses are plugged into a formula to come up with an overall increase in contract values.


As well as the pay uplift of 3%, other factors taken into account in the formula are:

  • practice staff pay
  • laboratory costs 
  • materials
  • other business costs 
  • and an inflation measure. 

Traditionally, the DDRB itself made a recommendation on expenses using this formula and therefore also made an overall contract value uplift recommendation. However, in recent years, the Review Body has chosen not to make an expenses recommendation because it does not believe that the evidence it receives in this area is sufficiently robust. We have sought repeatedly to address that issue but we haven't been able to agree an approach with the relevant administrations.


Therefore, instead of a DDRB recommendation on expenses, it has recently been in the hands of governments to come up with an allowance for expenses and then an overall contract value uplift. In England, the government develops an uplift recommendation and consults us at the BDA. Unfortunately, that process has not yet taken place despite the 3% pay element being accepted now more than 10 weeks ago. We have continued to urge the Department of Health and Social Care to get on with this process.


We do not yet know what overall percentage uplift the government will recommend, but it is likely to be below the headline 3% pay figure. Despite not making a recommendation on expenses, the DDRB does continue to publish the formula it has used in the past (and that the government has continued to use as its starting point). That published formula shows that a number of those expenses factors listed above are quite a bit lower than 3%.


For example, staff costs at 0.3%; laboratory and material costs at 1.4%. These are all backwards facing assessments. A key part of the formula is the inflation measure and the government has chosen recently to use the Consumer Prices Index (for the fourth quarter of the prior year). CPI is usually lower than other inflation measures; we have argued against its use repeatedly and will do so again this year if it used.


Whilst the pay uplift should be backdated to April when it is confirmed, the delay is hugely frustrating. We will continue to urge the DHSC to implement the uplift and to argue the case on the profession's behalf in terms of the expenses calculation.


We have also urged practices to make sure that performers as well as contract holders see the benefit of this uplift when it is finally confirmed.


We will update you as soon as we have any further information.





Northern Ireland: Ongoing delay to COVID payments


Following our recent letter to the Health Minister highlighting the continued delay in the issuing of COVID recognition payments, the Minister has refused to set a definitive timescale by which payments will be made. He has stated only that recognition payments will be paid to the independent sector staff "as soon as it is practicable".


While this is disappointing, we will continue to keep this issue to the fore to ensure payments are expedited as soon as possible. It is essential that staff are appropriately recognised for their work.