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Updates from week commencing 7 June 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 11 June 2021



Right to work checks from 1 July


The government has issued new guidance on checks that employers need to undertake from 1 July 2021.


There is also new guidance for EU/EEA and Swiss nationals who have received their status under the EU Settlement Scheme.


We would advise dentists and their team members to consider the information and raise awareness amongst their contacts.





Scotland: PPE supplies will continue


The Scottish Government will continue funding the delivery of free PPE to dental practices until the end of March 2022.


We have been meeting regularly with National Services Scotland about continued PPE supplies and to raise individual concerns about PPE on behalf of colleagues. Initially this provision was set to end this month, so the continued supply of PPE for a further nine months is good news.






Take a seat on our board


Now's your chance to have your say on how our Association is run and what it stands for. Self-nominations for our board elections will close today at 17:00.


We have a vacancy for a UK-wide member to serve on our board until December 2023. Our board has overall responsibility for the control and direction of the policy and affairs of the BDA and its members are the directors of the association. We would expect you to devote around 20 days per year, and you'll receive an annual payment of £15,000.


Submit a nomination form by 17:00 today or email to discuss the role further.





Dentists called to support survivors of domestic abuse


​A new campaign is calling for dentists to provide pro bono treatment to survivors of domestic abuse.


In a new blog, Dr Sonia Joshi she tells us why she's involved and what the proposed dentistry directory can achieve.


“During my twenty years in the profession, I’ve seen dentistry come a long way in its understanding and provision of care for highly vulnerable patients who have suffered from situations of domestic abuse. But there is much still to be done.


“The idea for a registry of dentists willing to provide pro bono services started during lockdown. On social media, I saw a request from Rachel Williams, the founder of Stand Up to Domestic Abuse, asking for dental care for a survivor of domestic abuse and I contacted her to see how dentists could support these patients. Since then, the idea of a registry has taken off.”




Thursday 10 June 2021



Scotland: Investment to boost access and future proof services


The Scottish Government will allocate £5 million to help practices invest in ventilation equipment to increase patient volumes while meeting COVID restrictions.


We welcome this news, having first made the bid for financial support to improve ventilation in November. England is now the only UK nation not to have committed any capital funding for ventilation to help restore services.


Scotland's Chief Dental Officer, Tom Ferris, has confirmed funds can be used to purchase, renew or upgrade ventilation systems, and practices can claim retrospectively for the period 1 April 2020 – 31 March 2022.


While pleased with the news, we are concerned that it may not cover those practices who have already installed portable units or air cleaners (such as HEPA filters), following guidance from the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP).


David McColl, chair of the BDA's Scottish Dental Practice Committee said: “This is a no brainer from the Scottish Government. Investment in ventilation can future proof Scotland’s dental services, boost patient numbers and pay for itself.”





Wales: Stress and COVID-19


If you've found this past year challenging, know that you're not alone. A recent BDA Wales survey of dentists reveals that an incredible percentage of us have struggled with our mental health over this period of 15 months.


In a recent blog, NHS GDP Dan Cook shares a personal perspective and research insights into the mental health of dentists in Wales during the COVID-19 pandemic.


“We all know that pressures on dentists and dentistry in Wales long pre-date the pandemic. But I find it particularly worrying that 75% of practitioners in Wales attended work when they didn't feel mentally well enough during the pandemic. What's more, 43% of respondents now feel they cannot cope with the level of stress in their job. These findings make for stark reading, but are sadly unsurprising.”






NHS England contracts: Year end declarations and associate payments


As we’ve highlighted before, it is a mandatory requirement for general practice contract holders in England to submit a year end declaration for the year 2020-21.


We know that some contract holders have yet to complete their returns and NHS England has extended the deadline for submission until 23:59 on Monday 14 June 2021. Failing to complete the form accurately could put the payments received during the last financial year in jeopardy. The year-end declaration eForm letter is available in Compass and further guidance is available from the NHSBSA website.


The declaration asks a series of questions that contract holders are required to answer. One of those is a declaration that payments during the 2020/21 contract year were made to the practice workforce from April to December 2020. Practice owners were obliged to pay associates and other staff at ‘previous NHS levels’ during that period. This has proven to be one of the most challenging aspects of the set of requirements, with different interpretations of paying at previous levels, particularly for associates.


We have offered consistent advice on this issue  that the most logical approach is to pay the equivalent of Net Pensionable Earnings from the prior financial year. We have heard of many examples of practices taking different approaches, for example additionally passing on the full costs of the 16.75% contract abatement. We do not believe that this sort of method is fair to associates given that deductions will already have been taken into account via the NPE calculation.





Northern Ireland: Maternity payment calculations


The Department of Health has agreed to remove the abatement from applying in respect of April - July 2020 (abatement was removed in August 2020).


Thirty-eight independent contractors will benefit from this change. We have requested that those affected will be communicated with in the coming days regarding their revised maternity payment calculations.



Wednesday 9 June 2021



Supporting you to tackle stress


Dentists and their teams are reporting high rates of stress and anxiety. That's why we provide a course on tackling stress which is designed to help you deal with work-related stress. It covers two key topics:


  • Stress Awareness is designed to give you an overview of stress awareness at work. We'll explain why stress occurs and how it can manifest itself physically and psychologically, and offer practical hints and tips on how to cope with the ever-increasing demands of the modern workplace.

  • Managing Stress and Conflict looks in detail at how these two subjects are interlinked. We'll explore the obligations of the organisation in minimising stress levels and, most importantly, examine the role that managers have in controlling stress and conflict within their teams.

If you're a member, you can also access our Health Assured service to help you deal with personal and professional problems that could be affecting your home life or work life, health and general wellbeing. You can access a helpline 24/7, 365 days a year.





Burnout in dentistry


The Commons Health and Social Care Committee has published its latest report on Workforce burnout and resilience in the NHS and social care.


The report addresses long-term drivers of burnout, many of which have been severely aggravated by the pandemic. It covers:


  • Burnout before and during COVID-19
  • Workplace culture and support for staff
  • Workforce planning

Stress and burnout have been endemic across the profession for years, alongside critical issues on recruitment and retention.


Since January our members are reporting higher levels of stress compared to any point during this pandemic, with working in high-level PPE cited as having an unparalleled impact on morale. This report underlines the case we've made today for a roadmap to ease restrictions.





Scotland: Constructive first meeting with new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care


We had a useful first meeting yesterday with Humza Yousaf, the new Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care.


We raised a number of issues that we included in our recent letter to the Minister for Public Health, including the need to include activity measures other than just gross Item of Service to reflect how practices are currently operating. We also urged the Scottish Government to develop a more sustainable funding model as practices are currently unable to plan their finances, and both practice owners and associates need clarification to allow practices to recruit new dentists.


The Scottish Government has committed to abolish NHS dentistry charges during this parliament, and to implement this for 18-26 year-old care leavers within the first 100 days of the administration. We cautioned that this could increase patient demand – to add to the existing colossal backlog of unmet dental care need – and that clear communication was essential to manage patients’ expectations. We also stressed that the Scottish Government would need to find at least £100 million to replace lost patient charges and ensure NHS dentistry remains viable.


We welcome the Cabinet Secretary’s interest in our concerns and look forward to engaging constructively with him.





Racism in dentistry: new study exploring lived experiences


As part of our commitment to tackling racism in dentistry, if you are a minority ethnic dentist working in the UK, we invite you to take part in an online diary study.


You will be asked to document any race-related encounters which occur in your work as a dentist. The encounters you describe can be positive or negative in nature, and may relate to interactions with colleagues, patients, or others. The study will take place over four weeks and participants will receive a £20 gift card upon completion.


To find out more, complete this expression of interest and someone will be in touch if you’re eligible to proceed.





Progress on the roadmap


In response to our calls to commission a roadmap to ease COVID restrictions, all four UK Chief Dental Officers issued a rare joint statement last night, committing to a review.


Sara Hurley, Tom Ferris, Colette Bridgman and Michael Donaldson said:


“All four UK Chief Dental Officers share their profession’s ambition for increasing access which needs to be done safely and effectively, which is why there is now going to be a further review of the UK-wide infection control guidance in the light of the current science and prevalence.”


We have welcomed this swift and positive response.




Tuesday 8 June 2021



England: NHS campaign 'Help Us Help You'


NHS England have produced a set of social media cards which practices are welcome to use to help explain to patients how to access NHS dentistry:


  • Dental Practices are open
  • Measures are in place for your safety
  • Urgent Dental Care
  • Check-ups

There's also a leaflet: 'What can your NHS dentist do for you?' and a poster: 'Coronavirus - Got symptoms or a positive test result? Do not enter this building'. You can access everything online here.





Do you need a Human Tissue Authority (HTA) licence?


Does your practice import or export human tissues and cells between Great Britain (GB) and the European Economic Area (EEA) for human application (patient treatment)? If so, you may require an HTA licence if you wish to continue these activities from 1 July 2021.


These regulatory changes came into effect following the end of the UK Transition Period, and may affect establishments that previously did not require an HTA licence.


If you think your practice might be affected by these changes, please visit the HTA’s website for further information or contact the HTA directly for advice:





Roadmap needed for safe relaxation of restrictions


365 days ago practices in England resumed face-face care, but today - while the country opens up - the restrictions dentists are working to remain largely unchanged.


So today we’ve called on the four UK Chief Dental Officers to collectively commission the respected Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) to develop a roadmap for safe relaxation of current restrictions currently limiting access to dentistry.


This work needs to factor in:


  • Community infection, transmission and vaccination rates
  • The relevance of AGPs to COVID transmission
  • The full range and impact of international dental SOPs
  • The impact on oral health inequalities and the dental workforce.

We’re working to ensure MPs and the media understand the urgency. 30 million appointments have been lost in England alone since lockdown. Nearly half the members we’ve surveyed told us they are likely to leave the profession in the next year if existing SOPs remain in place.


As our Chair Eddie Crouch notes: "It is time to let the experts weigh up the risk of COVID transmission with the dangers of prolonging the status quo."





BDA Library: COVID-19 and dentistry


Our library continues to provide members with access to packages of dental articles on COVID-19 and dentistry. Take a look at this list, which is frequently updated.


Recently added articles include, “Sources of SARS-CoV-2 and other microorganisms in dental aerosols” and “COVID-19: seroprevalence and vaccine responses in UK dental care professionals” from the Journal of Dental Research and “A clinical investigation of dental evacuation systems in reducing aerosols” from the Journal of the American Dental Association.



Monday 7 June 2021



EU settlement scheme: Reminder to apply


All dental professionals are reminded to please ensure that any EU nationals who arrived in the UK before 31 December 2020 have applied to the EU Settlement scheme to retain their current rights to live and work in the UK.


Irish nationals do not need to apply but can do so if they wish.


Application details:


  • Deadline: 30 June 2021
  • Requirements: ID, proof of residency, criminal records check
  • Cost: Free
  • How to do it: Apply online

Depending on length of time in the UK, individuals will either receive a ‘settled status’ (if they have been here for over five years) or ‘pre-settled status’ (if they have been here for less than five years). There is then the opportunity to change to settled status after five years of residency.


Individuals who have a residency status document from earlier years must still apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.


It is important that the application is received before 30 June 2021 even if the status is awarded after that date. There are dedicated information and support services for applicants available; for any questions, get in touch with them through the website above or on 0300 123 7379.





Returning to England: Update


The government has confirmed that Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira) – which are currently on the “green list” - will move to the “amber” one with effect from 4am on Tuesday 8 June 2021.


This means that anyone arriving in England from Portugal after that time must follow the “amber list” rules.

So, before they travel, they must:


  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book and pay for Day 2 and Day 8 COVID-19 travel tests (these are to be done after arrival in England) 
  • complete a passenger locator form

And, when they arrive in England, they must:


  • quarantine at home (or in the place they are staying) for 10 days
  • take a COVID-19 test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8

There are no exemptions to these rules for dentists or dental staff.


In addition, the following countries will move from the “amber” to the “red list” at the same time:


  • Afghanistan 
  • Bahrain
  • Costa Rica 
  • Egypt 
  • Sri Lanka 
  • Sudan  
  • Trinidad and Tobago

This means that anyone arriving in England from the above list after that time must follow the “red list” rules.

So, before they travel, they must:


  • take a COVID-19 test
  • book a quarantine hotel package, including 2 COVID-19 tests
  • complete a passenger locator form

And, when they arrive in England, they must:


  • quarantine for 10 full days in a managed quarantine hotel (the day they arrive in England counts as Day 0)
  • take a coronavirus (COVID-19) test on or before Day 2 and on or after Day 8 of quarantining

Again, there are no exemptions to these rules for dentists or dental staff.





NHS England year-end declarations: Deadline extended


NHS England is aware that some practices have not yet submitted their year-end declarations. It has  extended the deadline for submission until 23:59 on Monday 14 June 2021 and is sending out final reminders to practices.


The year-end declaration eForm letter is available in Compass and further guidance is available from the NHSBSA website.





Scotland: PPE supplies for dental practices will continue


The Scottish Government will continue funding the delivery of free PPE to dental practices until the end of March 2022.


The Government had previously guaranteed this provision until the end of this month and the continued supply of PPE for a further nine months is welcome news. We have been meeting regularly with National Services Scotland about continued PPE supplies and to raise individual concerns about PPE on behalf of colleagues.


There will also be an overall 50% increase in PPE supplies to NHS Boards from July. This will allow Boards to target increases in PPE allocation to practices where required to allow them to treat more NHS dental patients.


We will revise our PPE Q&A document for dental teams.