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England: Revised SOPs see changes to masks and fallow time 

27 October 2020 

NHS England has issued revised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic. These new SOPs follow on from the recent rapid review into COVID-19 and aerosol-generating procedures, and incorporate the recently published COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental appendix.  


Regarding fallow time and Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs), the revised SOPs say that where a surgery's ventilation system can achieve 6 to 9 Air Changes/Hour (ACH), a baseline post AGP downtime of 20 minutes is recommended. Where there are 10 or more ACH, a baseline post AGP downtime of 15 minutes is recommended. 


The SOPs also confirm that FFP3 masks are recommended for AGP procedures. However, the Office of the CDO has also indicated that where there are existing stocks of FFP2 masks, it is understood that it may be necessary for practices to continue to use these until staff are successfully fit tested and supplied with the appropriate FFP3 mask. 


Practices/providers are advised to have a plan in place to demonstrate to the CQC the steps they are taking to complete the transition to FFP3 masks for AGPs in a timely and safe manner. We understand that FFP3 masks are to be made available via the NHS portal.


Our toolkit for practices in England is being updated to account for these changes. We will update you once it is available for you to download.