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​Dental services in England set to continue in second lockdown

2 November 2020

The British Dental Association has urged the government to deliver better communications with healthcare agencies and the wider workforce, following belated confirmation from Downing Street that dental services in England “can stay open” during the four-week period of additional restrictions from 5 November.

NHS England has now confirmed that access to dental care will remain throughout the national lockdown, and that public health measures announced by the Prime Minister on Saturday will permit travel for access to dental care. Practices had reported deep uncertainty and have already received high volumes of patient queries regarding the status of appointments.

Following the announcement on Saturday evening, the Association has been seeking urgent clarification on the status of dental services, given the suspension of face-to-face care during the first lockdown.

Dental services are continuing to operate at a fraction of their former capacity, owing to ongoing COVID restrictions. The BDA has urged patients not to cancel booked appointments, and to continue to seek care as required.

BDA Chair Eddie Crouch said:  

“We finally have confirmation that all dental practices will stay open during the coming lockdown. Given the rigorous safety protocols we are working to, there never should have been any doubt.

“No health professional should have been left in the dark on whether they could open their doors on Thursday. That clear guidance wasn’t available at the outset, reflects the disconnect we’ve seen across government since the start of this pandemic.

"At times like this Downing Street has a responsibility to keep its own departments, agencies, and healthcare workers in the loop. Failure to do so has sent the wrong message to millions of patients who need our care, and to practices struggling to stay afloat.

"Patients need to know their local dentists are open and safe. If you have an appointment booked please don't miss out."