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Updates from week commencing 9 August 2021

Read all the updates that took place throughout this week.

Friday 13 August 2021



Webinar: Infection control problems and how to avoid them


Join us on Thursday 16 September 2021, 19:30 – 20:30, for a webinar from Nikolai Stankiewicz GDP and co-author of BDJ Clinical Guide ‘Infection control in primary dental care'.


Free to members, £50 to non-members. This one-hour presentation will update those working in general dental practice on the principles of cross infection control. It will help you:


  • Be aware of the 10 most common compliance problems in infection control
  • Understand how these problems can be avoided in their practice
  • Ensure the requirements of HTM105, the CQC and GDC are being met.





Scotland: Government must apply full pay award


We are calling on the Scottish Government to confirm that the 3% pay award for dentists will be applied to practitioners’ overall remuneration package.


This confirmation is essential if the government is to avoid front line staff potentially being left out of pocket and practices struggling to invest to improve care. Last year the Scottish Government did not apply the recommended 2.8% uplift to practice allowances - which make up around 16% of practice income - leaving an overall increase of less than the review body’s recommendations.

While one-off support to fund improvements in ventilation has been offered, NHS dentists do not routinely receive capital investment. These earnings serve to fund all improvements in equipment, training, and facilities for NHS practices.


We are expecting details of how the package will operate in due course.


Chair of our Scottish Dental Practice Committee, David McColl has said: “This uplift will do little to correct a decade of austerity, and not all of this increase may actually reach dentists, who rely on their earnings to invest in their practices."





Advice on COVID-19: Updates to our FAQs


Designed to give you and your practice the advice you need, our COVID FAQs are frequently updated with the latest information. Members' most frequently asked questions currently include:


  • Should I use the NHS COVID-19 app?
  • Must patients wear face coverings?
  • If I'm vaccinated, is full PPE essential?
  • Is the COVID-19 vaccination mandatory?
  • What if a staff member is told to self-isolate?



Thursday 12 August 2021



England: Self-isolation removed for double jabbed close contacts from 16 August


The Government has announced that, from Monday 16 August 2021, those who are double jabbed and under 18 will not be legally required to self-isolate if they are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case. This means that healthcare workers who have been notified by test and trace that they are a close contact of a positive COVID-19 case are allowed, from Monday, to return to work subject to these conditions:


  • they have been double vaccinated
  • they have had a negative PCR test after being contacted and before returning to work
  • they take daily LFD tests for ten days from being contacted and those tests are negative.

Staff, who may now return to work under these new rules, are still advised that they may be infectious, and they should consider precautions such as wearing a face mask and avoiding unnecessary contact. If staff are working with clinically extremely vulnerable patients (such as where patients are predominantly people with serious medical conditions who are isolating), there should be a risk assessment carried out in the workplace before they return.





Worrying precedent on vicarious liability


In a recent blog Len D’Cruz outlined the impact of a recent High Court case which sets a far-reaching precedent for that practice owners, particularly those holding NHS contracts in England and Wales, who can now be held to be vicariously liable for the actions of their self-employed associates.


This case is not a victory for patients, as some have claimed. Dentists have a legal and professional obligation to hold indemnity, but in this case the lawyers have deliberately chosen to disregard this and pursue the practice owner instead. So, the only winners here are the claimant law firms.


The judgment only applies to NHS practice owners in England and Wales, as the judge did not feel she had to decide whether that non-delegable duty applied to purely private patients. However, NHS practice owners in Northern Ireland and Scotland, while not immediately impacted by this decision, should be aware of the precedent which it may set for cases taken in their jurisdictions.






Wales: Stopping in-year clawback


We are aware that several practices in Swansea Bay University Health Board (SBUHB) had monies removed from their contract payments last month, without prior consultation, based on an assessment of their performance in Q1 regarding fluoride varnish applications. We have sent a letter of complaint to the Head of Primary Care, copied to the CEO of SBUHB, and the Office of the CDO, making plain our disappointment in this behaviour.


This goes against the spirit of everything the previous CDO Dr Bridgman was trying to engender in contract reform and GDS contractual conditions. It is a breach of contract and we have made clear that we expect immediate reimbursement to affected practices. We have asked the Head of Primary Care to ensure that contract managers work constructively with affected practices to clarify the reasons for the apparent under performance, whether these were for clinical reasons, data capture reasons, staffing reasons or any other mitigating factors.


A supportive approach is needed in future to ensure the successful outcome of trialling these new contract measures. If there are valid reasons for clawback of monies against a practice’s contract value, then this should not be done until a full consultation process has been exhausted. Monies should not be removed until the end of the financial year when practice performance over the 12 months can be fully assessed against all the new measures and done in a joined-up fashion.


We will keep a close eye on other Health Boards and update you on progress made. If your practice is under any such threat of in-year clawback, please tell us at





Are your NHS practice details up to date?


It is important for patients that NHS dental practices have accurate information on the NHS website. This should include opening times and whether the practice is taking on new patients. Check if your practice’s details are up to date. If they are not, the NHS' online visual guide explains how to gain editing rights and update your profile.





Wales: Funding confirmed for GDS contract uplift


The Welsh Government and Health Minister Baroness Morgan have committed to providing the extra £1.9 million funding needed to implement the 3% pay uplift recommended by the DDRB this year.


There will be no application of abatements via the usual formula which would have reduced the uplift value to nearer 2% overall. This is good news for GDS contract holders, who will be able to realistically consider enhancing their staff’s pay as a result and hopefully use the funding to offset growing retention issues. We have been in consultation with Welsh Government officials regarding the uplift since 21 July and are pleased to announce this progress to our members.



Wednesday 11 August 2021



Scotland: PPE allocation increased for VDPs/VDTs


National Services Scotland (NSS) have advised that they are enhancing the available volume of PPE for all Vocational Dental Practitioners and Vocational Dental Therapists to ensure they are supplied with sufficient amounts to hone their clinical skills and increase productivity.


The increased PPE will be made available from tomorrow (12 August), through Pecos, the online ordering platform. NSS are encouraging NHS Boards to make VDPs, VDTs and their trainers aware of the increase so they are able to take advantage of the change.





England: Update to IPC guidance


Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer England, has confirmed that there has been a minor change to dentistry's infection prevention control guidance. Post-AGP fallow time is no longer considered necessary for successive appointments between members of the same household. Please read the IPC guidance in full online.


This guidance should be read in conjunction with dentistry's standard operating procedure. Primary dental care providers may carry out both non-AGP and AGP care, subject to availability of the appropriate PPE and in line with infection prevention and control guidance, including post-AGP downtime requirements.





Scotland: Increased PPE for trainee dental nurses and trainers


From this month, an allocation of free PPE is available to NHS practices who have taken on dental nurse trainees, NHS National Services Scotland has advised.


Eligible practices will have the extra allowance added to their allocation through Pecos, the online ordering platform. The number of dental nurses reportedly leaving the profession rose during the pandemic and adverts for recruitment are on the rise. It is hoped that this may go some way to supporting NHS practices to re-establish dental nurse training.





Scotland: Mental health resources


A recent report into the impact of the pandemic on dentists' mental health in Scotland has provided us with some fresh data on the effects of COVID-19. As many as 27% of survey respondents reported experiencing significant depressive symptoms during this period and 55% of primary care staff rated themselves as emotionally exhausted. These are deeply concerning figures.


To support you, we've been working jointly with the Scottish Government to produce a list of the mental health and wellbeing resources available to dentists and their teams across Scotland. This compilation highlights resources available to you - whether you're working in the NHS or in private practise. Whatever your situation, remember you are not alone and there are services out there which can help you.





BDA Benevolent Fund’s upcoming AGM


The BDA Benevolent Fund’s 138th Annual General Meeting will take place on Thursday 2 September at 17:00. This virtual meeting will be an opportunity to see what the charity has achieved in the last year and learn more from the Trustees about how your vital support has helped those in the dental profession.


This year’s agenda will include:


  • Chairman’s report
  • Receipt of the annual report and accounts for the year ending 31 December 2020 and a report from the Treasurer
  • Re‐election of Trustee Dr Bill Creedon for a third term.

Register to attend by 16:00 on Wednesday 1 September.



Tuesday 10 August 2021



Dental careers podcast: Kids, community and prisons


Have you thought about treating children? Or perhaps you’re pondering the prison service or CDS? On our podcast, Chairside: Conversations about careers in dentistry, Andrea Ogden speaks to two dentists about their careers in these areas, giving you an insight into their experience and motivations.


Jinesh Thakrar, ex-prison dentist and current CDS dentist: “Prison dentistry really helped me keep up my speed, helped with my diagnosing, as you can imagine there’s a high dental need there… I really got involved in doing a lot of endos, extirpations, extractions, lots of restoration work too, which I really enjoyed.”


David Drysdale, paediatric specialty registrar at GOSH and former CDS dentist: “The problem I had with the community was that you don’t receive much formal training. That’s why, I decided to do the masters in paediatric dentistry, it wasn’t to help me specialise, it was to do my job… it was on the back of doing the masters, and doing quite well that I decided to specialise…and I would go back [to work as a specialist in the community] in a heartbeat.”


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





Catch-up on lectures


Whilst live webinars take a break during August, catch-up on any lectures you may have missed.


For example, Leadership lessons from lockdown is designed to provide an overview of the importance of leadership for dentists, along with lessons from the recent lockdowns and an introduction to the Toolkit for Practices. It's free to members and provides you with one hour of CPD.





Wales: NHS bonus payment statement and application deadline


The first NHS Wales bonus payments will be made in the coming weeks. If you have applied for the bonus you can expect a supporting statement to be sent to the contact email address you provided on the claim form. To help understand the statement please refer to the quick guide for contractors/recipients to help recognise the email/attachment and provide an explanation of the different fields listed.


If you have not yet applied for your bonus there is still time to do so. Applications for the bonus payment for primary care will be accepted until 30 September 2021. As part of the application, you must submit a supporting statement. This Welsh Health Circular guide will help you complete the form. Don’t miss out, submit your application ahead of the closing date to receive your bonus payment and remind your colleagues to do the same.



Monday 9 August 2021



BDA Benevolent Fund: London marathon 2021


On October 3, 100,000 people will be taking part in the biggest marathon ever staged in the world, by running in London and all over the country. We're pleased to see dentists and a dental student are taking part to fundraise on behalf of the BDA Benevolent Fund, a charity supporting dentists and dental students living in the UK who are in financial hardship.


The BDA Benevolent Fund is needed now more than ever to support struggling dentists and dental students. If you’d like to support this worthy cause, consider donating to their marathon runners:


“This is my first marathon and every penny that anybody donates will be hugely appreciated by me and the charity I am supporting.” – Dr Helen Reddington


“I can't wait to get going with training in full flow and I look forward to all your help and support in sponsoring me for what is a fantastic cause and organisation!” - Dr. Zayd Rawoot


“I am a dental student currently studying at King's College London... I would appreciate your help in raising some money for such an amazing charity.” - Ronan Lee





England: NHS publishes guide to record management


NHSX has published a helpful guide on managing dental records, the 2021 Records Management Code of Practice. It is specifically relevant to dental practices working within or under contract to the NHS in England. However, mixed practices are advised to take a consistent approach to record keeping and private practices should also consider adopting the same standards.


The guide covers the management of paper and digital records both on and off site. It also outlines a schedule for minimal retention of these records. This varies from a minimum of 15 years for clinical dental records to two years for patients' financial records (see Appendix II). It also provides very useful information and signposting to legal and professional obligations, as well as information on organising and manging records.





Northern Ireland: Resources for challenging and abusive patients


BDA Northern Ireland know that some dental teams have been experiencing abuse from patients at present. Abuse of any kind towards dental staff cannot be tolerated and ensuring that all dental staff remain safe is vital. That's why we have produced new resources to support you in dealing with abusive patients and tough access conversations.


These helpful posters, which you can customise, print and put up in your practice, will help make clear to patients that abuse is never acceptable. We are also working with the Health and Social Care Board to put out a series of patient-facing messages about the pressures practices continue to face. These are a reminder to the public to be patient and respectful to dentists and their teams as they continue to deliver care in difficult circumstances.


We have partnered with local practitioner Ciara Gallagher to produce a video to explain access restrictions to your patients. Download this video to share it on your practice's social media platforms.





Northern Ireland: FSS3 to be announced


The Department of Health will be announcing the Financial Support Scheme (FSS) funding arrangements that will apply from 8 September 2021 until the remainder of this financial year. We have not been able to agree to the fundamental change of separating out PPE funding from the FSS or the reinstatement of an abatement of 15% to FSS3 payments.


This scheme will provide practitioners with certainty until the end of the financial year, which is so badly needed. But while we recognise that PPE funding should be allocated as fairly as possible according to actual usage, it should also not serve as a disincentive to activity. We are concerned at the unintended consequences these changes could have at practice level, read our statement in response to this announcement.





BDA Presidential installation


The President of the British Dental Association is our most senior member, elected each year at the Annual General Meeting. The president has a ceremonial role during their one-year term of office, representing the BDA at appropriate meetings and events in the UK and overseas.


Our upcoming presidential installation ceremony will see our out-going President, Russ Ladwa give his valedictory address. He will then pass the BDA ceremonial jewel to in-coming President, Liz Kay, who will give her presidential speech. It will take place online on Tuesday 7 September from 20:00-20:30. Everyone is invited to attend and you can register to do so here.