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The latest industry developments and insight from the world of dentistry.

Latest News - Useful Government information sources on COVID – 19

27 March 2020

Support for self-employed announced 

Update: 27th of March 2020

The Chancellor has announced a grant scheme to support the self-employed as part of the Government's package of measures during the coronavirus crisis. 

Under the scheme, self-employed individuals may be eligible for a direct cash grant of up to 80% of their profits, up to £2,500 per month, for at least three months. 

The scheme will be open to those with a trading profit of less than £50,000 in 2018-19 or an average trading profit of less than £50,000 from 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19. To qualify, more than half of their income in these periods must come from self-employment. Eligible individuals will be contacted by HMRC. 

HMRC guidance, including additional details on eligibility criteria, can be found below along with a further link to the Government's Business Support page with information on the full range of support measures announced to date.

Read the announcement

Read the HMRC guidance

Coronavirus Financial Support

 

Movement advice for Critical Workers

Update: 26th of March 2020

Earlier this week the Government announced a new set of measures to tackle the spread of coronavirus, including that employees should only travel to and from work where this work "absolutely cannot be done from home".

As our survey last week revealed, many BDIA members have already implemented very significant levels of home working. However, it is clear that the work of some employees of member companies may not be possible to be done from home.

Furthermore, those involved in the health and social care supply chain "including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment" have been included in the Government's list of Critical Workers in relation to school closures. 

Accordingly, a group of leading life sciences associations has suggested the following principles that employers may wish to consider in relation to employees they have identified as carrying out essential activities:

  • Employees travelling to carry out essential activities should carry with them a letter bearing the logo of their employing organisation.
  • The letter should state that they qualify as a critical worker under the Government’s classification and have the necessary qualifications and endorsements to carry out their duties.
  • Employees should carry with them photographic identification.

Further clarification on this issue is currently being sought. We will advise members of any changes to this advice based on the latest recommendations from Government. 

 

Updated NHS England advice for dentists

Update: 25th of March 2020

NHS England has issued updated advice for general dental practices and community dental services regarding the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The latest guidance more closely aligns the advice for England with that already issued to dental teams in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. It states that for primary dental care services:

1. All routine, non-urgent dental care including orthodontics should be stopped and deferred until advised otherwise.

2. All practices should establish (independently or by collaboration with others) a remote urgent care service, providing telephone triage for their patients with urgent needs during usual working hours, and whenever possible treating with: Advice, Analgesia and Antimicrobial means where appropriate.

3. Patients whose condition cannot be managed by these means will need to be referred to their Local Urgent Dental Care system.

4. All community outreach activities such as oral health improvement programmes and dental surveys should be stopped until advised otherwise.

The letter also sets out NHS England’s arrangements for contracts and funding. These measures include:

 - Changes to 2019-20 contract reconciliation.

 - Revision of the 2020-21 contract to reflect service disruption due to COVID-19.

 - Cashflow - maintaining monthly payments in 2020-21 too all practices equal to 1/12th of their current annual contract value.

 - Contract value and reconciliation - working to finalise an approach to contract value and reconciliation for 2020-21, taking account of the following principles:

  • contract delivery and year end payment for the period of the COVID-19 response should be assumed to have been maintained at a level that allows continued employment of staff (despite reduced actual activity).
  • Practice staff should be available to offer capacity to other NHS priority areas and this will include helping to staff the new Nightingale Hospital that is being established in London and other similar facilities that may be established over the coming weeks
  • That all staff are paid at previous levels.
  • Payments based on an agreed and fair reduction for any variable costs associated with service delivery (e.g. in recognition of reduced consumable costs) will be applied to all contract values.
  • Practices benefiting from continued NHS funding will not be eligible to seek any wider government assistance to small businesses which could be duplicative.

Read the letter

 

BDA criticises NHS England advice for dentistry

Update: 25th of March 2020

The British Dental Association has criticised the clinical advice issued to dentists in England, saying that it has failed to offer the clarity and support that has been seen in the devolved nations.

Authorities in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have all issued guidance recommending that routine dental treatment cease, that only emergency cases are treated and to limit contact to protect both patients and staff.

The BDA has described the response in England, which still allows for some routine treatment despite uncertainty around protective equipment and protocols and does not offer the financial support measures seen elsewhere in the UK, as a threat to the future of NHS dental services.

Read the press release

 

COVID-19: Government announces new restrictions

Update: 24th of March 2020

The Prime Minister has announced a range of new restrictions and measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

From today, people will only be allowed to leave their homes for the following purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities, as infrequently as possible
  • one form of exercise a day - for example a run, walk, or cycle - alone or with members of your household;
  • any medical need, to provide care or to help a vulnerable person; and
  • travelling to and from work, but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home.

To ensure compliance with its instruction for people to stay at home, the Government will immediately:

  • close all shops selling non-essential goods,​ including clothing and electronic stores and other premises including libraries, playgrounds and outdoor gyms, and places of worship;
  • stop all gatherings of more than two people in public – excluding people you live with;
  • stop all social events​, including weddings, baptisms and other ceremonies, but excluding funerals.

Additional guidance has also been made available and can be accessed below. 

At this stage, and in the absence of a specific definition from the Government, there remains uncertainty around the term "absolutely necessary" as it relates to businesses and jobs. We are seeking clarification on this point and will circulate any updates to members. 

Read the update

Read the guidance

 

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme - Stakeholder Briefing

CDO Wales update - dentistry moved to red alert

Update: 23rd of March 2020

Further to last week's update from CDO Wales, Colette Bridgman, of an amber alert for dentistry, this has now been upgraded to a red alert.

As a result of the change, the CDO has advised the following for dental teams in Wales:

  • Routine scheduled dentistry needs to cease for the time being.
  • Aerosol generating procedures (AGP), that are being avoided, should now stop.
  • Dental team members who are pregnant or otherwise immunosuppressed should not provide or assist in the direct care or assessment of patients.
  • Practices and services can remain open (via a local rota and skeleton staff) and should make every effort to triage, advise and reassure patients who have a dental problem by telephone. This will avoid patients travelling and presenting at the practice or clinic, to minimise contact with people with symptoms or with those who are infected but asymptomatic. 
  • Dentists can offer remote prescription, analgesics and antimicrobials, by contacting local pharmacists. The pharmacist can supply a medicine provided the dentist undertakes to provide a physical prescription within 72 hours of making the request (Human Medicines Regulations).
  • All dental treatment that can be should be delayed at present.

Treatment should only continue using "robust PPE procedures", where patients are asymptomatic and only to meet urgent need. Urgent treatments that cannot be delayed and that require aerosol generating procedures are to be referred to the team's Health Board designated Emergency/Urgent Dental care centre. 

The letter also advises of 4% flexibility for 2019/20 contract delivery, whereby up to 4% of UDA activity can be credited toward meeting the 100% contract target. 

CDO Wales letter

Update: 23rd of March 2020

The British Business Bank has provided additional information concerning the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, which is available as of today. 

The key benefits of CBILS highlighted for SMEs are:

Up to £5m facility: The maximum value of a facility provided under the scheme will be £5m, available on repayment terms of up to six years.

80% guarantee: The scheme provides the lender with a government-backed, partial guarantee (80%) against the outstanding facility balance, subject to an overall cap per lender.

No guarantee fee for SMEs to access the scheme: No fee for smaller businesses. Lenders will pay a small fee to access the scheme.

Interest and fees paid by Government for 12 months: The Government will make a Business Interruption Payment to cover the first 12 months of interest payments and any lender-levied fees, so smaller businesses will benefit from no upfront costs and lower initial repayments.

Finance terms: Finance terms are up to six years for term loans and asset finance facilities. For overdrafts and invoice finance facilities, terms will be up to three years.

Security: At the discretion of the lender, the scheme may be used for unsecured lending for facilities of £250,000 and under. For facilities above £250,000, the lender must establish a lack or absence of security prior to businesses using CBILS. If the lender can offer finance on normal commercial terms without the need to make use of the scheme, they will do so.

The briefing document below sets out SME eligibility criteria and also signposts to other support resources available. 

CBILS briefing

 

COVID-19 Support for Businesses - Job Retention Scheme

Update: 23rd of March 2020

On Friday 20th March the Chancellor announced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as part of the government's package of measures to support businesses and employees. Under the scheme, all UK employers will be able to access support to pay part of their employees' salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during the coronavirus crisis. 

To access the scheme, employers will need to:

·         designate affected employees as ‘furloughed workers,’ and notify employees of this change - changing the status of employees remains subject to existing employment law and, depending on the employment contract, may be subject to negotiation

·         submit information to HMRC about the employees that have been furloughed and their earnings through a new online portal (HMRC will set out further details on the information required)

HMRC will reimburse up to 80% of furloughed workers wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month. 

This support is in addition to other measures such as the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. Further details of all government support for businesses can be accessed below. 

COVID-19 support for business

 

Updated CDO England preparedness letter

Update: 20th of March 2020

CDO England, Sara Hurley, has issued an updated preparedness letter to primary care dentists. The update follows her response yesterday to the British Dental Association's request for up-to-date guidance. 

In today's letter, the CDO advises dentists to ‘consider the potential risk of asymptomatic cases attending in this delay phase and reduce exposure of staff and patients to infection by avoiding all aerosol generating procedures wherever possible’.

Formalising guidance referred to in her previous letter, the CDO asks practices to:

1. Radically reduce the number of routine check-ups by cancelling patients from vulnerable groups (and offering cancellation to anyone else who wishes to do so) to reduce the need to travel and have close contact with others in waiting rooms and surgeries. This will also conserve supplies of PPE for urgent care and free up capacity for urgent and necessary care that cannot be delayed.

2. Agree local arrangements to consolidate, where necessary, the provision of any essential, routine NHS work that cannot be delayed and urgent dental problems. Services should not be delivered to those with potential covid symptoms or those in their households, following the current guidance. Information about this service should be available to all potential patients and at any point of referral.

3. Set up mechanisms to establish whether any potential patient or anyone in their household has symptoms, prior to any visit, by phone or text.

4. Consider the potential risk of asymptomatic cases attending in this delay phase and reduce exposure of staff and patients to infection by avoiding all aerosol generating procedures wherever possible.

5. Clearly display the materials on COVID-19 available on the website https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/

6. Use robust infection control procedures, wiping down surfaces between patients with extra vigilance to include door handles etc. and use standard PPE – We have set out new guidance on the use of full face visors as an alternative for certain situations to masks and eye protection.

Practices are asked to exercise clinical judgement in applying this guidance, and to refer patients who have COVID symptoms to local services which are being set up who will have appropriate facilities and PPE for these patients.

CDO England letter

 

COVID-19 'key worker' definition published and dentists may be redeployed

Update: 20th of March 2020

'Key worker' definition

As part of its guidance for schools, colleges and local authorities on maintaining educational provision, the government has published a list of critical sectors in relation to the COVID-19 response.

Schools should continue to offer provision for children of parents "whose work is critical to the COVID-19 response" including "those who work in health and social care and in other key sectors".

Clarification on "health and social care" is provided as follows:

Health and social care

This includes but is not limited to doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff including volunteers; the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector; those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines and medical and personal protective equipment.

The guidance continues by stating that if workers think they fall within one of the critical categories they should "confirm with their employer that, based on their business continuity arrangements, their specific role is necessary for the continuation of this essential public service."

Critical sectors and key workers

Dentists could support other NHS sectors

The government's Coronavirus Bill 2020 could mean that dentists may be asked to redeploy across the NHS to support the workforce in other areas. 

"Medical practitioners and other healthcare workers from a range of disciplines and settings are likely to be required to help deal with a coronavirus outbreak. For example, dentists and GP practice nurses may be asked to assist staff in NHS hospitals in administering injections and medication that would normally only be administered by hospital medics."

No further information is available as yet. We will be closely monitoring any further developments in this area. 

Coronavirus Bill summary

 

BDIA Updates and New Comms, Guidance for Dentists and the Dentistry Show is postponed

Update: 18th of March 2020

BDIA Resilience Plans

Your Association has drawn up a COVID-19 Resilience Plan for its own ongoing operations in order to continue to provide members with timely and helpful information and services.

We have produced a short video to bring you all up to speed on what the BDIA is doing.

A new BDIA Comms Tool – “FONE IN FRIDAY”

With an increasing number of members working from home where possible and a significant number of uncertainties facing the industry, the BDIA is trialling a new open telephone chat for members planned for Friday afternoons from 3.00- 4.00pm.

Members are invited to call in any time between 3.00—and 4.00pm, starting this Friday afternoon - 20th March - to join an open informal teleconference chat with BDIA staff and any other members who have dialled in to discuss and share dental industry issues, concerns, updates and news. We hope to use this platform as an exchange of ideas and views, as well as further expanding the BDIA’s ‘on the ground’ knowledge of day-to-day operational issues in these difficult times.

You can find joining details below – why not give it a go and see who else has rung in:

https://zoom.us/j/611720551

Meeting ID: 611 720 551

        +44 203 051 2874 United Kingdom

        +44 203 481 5237 United Kingdom

        +44 203 481 5240 United Kingdom

        +44 131 460 1196 United Kingdom

Find your local number: https://zoom.us/u/advdtkgDcj

Guidance for Dental Practices - England, Scotland and Wales

England

The British Dental Association has written to CDO England, Sara Hurley, requesting clarity from government for dental practices as no updates have been provided to NHS dentists’ standard operating procedures in England since the World Health Organisation declared a pandemic and the government stepped up its response to containing the spread of the virus. We understand that guidance for England should be published soon.

BDA letter

Scotland

Scotland’s CDO, Tom Ferris, has issued guidance outlining contingency measures and the financial support being put in place to mitigate the disruption of service caused by the COVID-19 outbreak in Scotland.

Scotland letter

Wales

The Welsh CDO, Colette Bridgman, has recently issued a letter moving Welsh Primary Care Dental teams on to Amber Alert on the basis that ‘providing routine dentistry as normal is no longer sustainable.

Wales letter

Dentistry Show and British Dental Conference postponed

Closer Still Media has decided to postpone the British Dental Conference and Dentistry Show (BDCDS) and the Dental Technology Showcase (DTS) 2020. They will now take place on Friday 4 and Saturday 5 September 2020 at the Birmingham NEC.

 

Useful Government information sources on COVID – 19

Update: 18th March 2020

COVID-19 Financial Measures, Emergency Legislation and Research


Government Economic Intervention – Business Support


The government has introduced a package of financial measures in response to COVID-19 which includes £330bn in loans, £20bn in other aid, a business rates holiday, and grants for retailers and pubs. Help for airlines is also being considered.


The package of measures to support businesses include:


•    a statutory sick pay relief package for SMEs
•    a 12-month business rates holiday for all retail, hospitality and leisure businesses in England
•    small business grant funding of £10,000 for all business in receipt of small business rate relief or rural rate relief
•    grant funding of £25,000 for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses with property with a rateable value between £15,000 and £51,000
•    the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme to support long-term viable businesses who may need to respond to cash-flow pressures by seeking additional finance
•    the HMRC Time To Pay Scheme 
 

Details of the government support can be found here

 

Business Support Helpline

Companies can also contact the government’s Business Support Helpline for free advice.


Business Support Helpline (England)
Telephone: 0300 456 3565
Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm


Find Business Support Scotland
Telephone: 0300 303 0660
Textphone: 0800 023 2071
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm


Business Wales Helpline
Telephone: 0300 060 3000
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5:30pm


Invest Northern Ireland
Telephone: 0800 181 4422
Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 5pm


In his announcement yesterday the Chancellor promised that if this package was not enough, he would go further.

Coronavirus Bill

Emergency measures to give ministers powers to take timely action to respond effectively to the progress of the coronavirus outbreak will be introduced to parliament this week. The DHSC states that measures in the Coronavirus Bill are temporary, proportionate to the threat we face, will only be used when strictly necessary and be in place for as long as required to respond to the situation. Measures will include new laws to protect public health, increase NHS capacity, strengthen social care and support the public to take the right action at the right time.


There will be additional employment protections and compensation for those volunteering in health and social care, and highly skilled health and care staff will be protected where they go above and beyond their day-to-day duties or return to the frontline as part of mass mobilisation. The new laws are  intended to protect life and the nation’s public health and ensure NHS and social care staff are supported to deal with significant extra pressure on the health system.
In summary, the key measures fall into five categories:         


•    Containing and slowing the virus
•    Easing legislative and regulatory requirements
•    Enhancing capacity and the flexible deployment of staff across essential services
•    Managing the deceased in a dignified way should we experience excess deaths
•    Supporting and protecting the public to do the right thing and follow public health advice
 

A summary of the Bill can be read here

Imperial College Modelling

Imperial College has recently published one of the scientific papers that has re-shaped recent government policy on COVID-19. The paper looks at non-pharmaceutical interventions to reduce COVID-19 mortality and healthcare demand. It contains some quite concerning data and shows various outcomes for a number of mitigation scenarios. Under all scenarios the peak infection (critical care beds occupied per 100,000 population) level falls between mid-April and mid-June, providing some insight into the protracted requirements of ‘lockdown’. It also covers the possibilities of a ‘second wave’ (November – December) based on various mitigation strategies.

The paper can be read here

Update: 17th March 2020

Updated guidance

Following yesterday’s Government press conference on COVID-19 (Coronavirus), the following guidance on social distancing and vulnerable people has been published:https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-on-social-distancing-and-for-vulnerable-people/guidance-on-social-distancing-for-everyone-in-the-uk-and-protecting-older-people-and-vulnerable-adults

You can also follow the DHSC Twitter feed at: https://twitter.com/DHSCgovuk/status/1239648471994507266

Minister of Health, Matt Hancock,  statement made on 16th March 2020.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock addressed the House of Commons on the evening of 16th March. A link to the speech can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/controlling-the-spread-of-covid-19-health-secretarys-statement-to-parliament.

Update: 16th March 2020

National Supply Disruption Response

Steve Oldfield, Chief Commercial Officer at the Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC), has issued a letter to suppliers regarding the government's response to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. 

The letter, which is tailored toward NHS supply, advises that the National Supply Disruption Response (NSDR) will be stood up to monitor the situation and provide resolutions. As per NSDR plans for EU Exit, suppliers are requested to follow "usual mitigation procedures" in the first instance to seek resolutions. NSDR processes will address supply disruption incidents where normal procedures and mitigations are unable to provide a resolution. Information is provided outlining actions that should be taken in the event of supply disruption to your supply arrangements for products and services. 

The letter is available here: https://bdia.org.uk/BDIA/media/Documents/Newsletter%20documments/200313_NSDR_1_.pdf

Office for Life Sciences Bulletin

The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) has provided an update on the business impact of COVID-19. The update summarises recent government guidance, and also requests evidence from businesses on:

The impacts across supply, demand and labour markets

Actions being taken by firms to address these impacts

Any gaps in the Government response from your perspective.

Members are invited to submit any such information to intel@beis.gov.uk directly, or to Adam Stanley on adamstanley@bdia.org.uk to form part of a BDIA submission. Any information we receive will be treated in strictest confidence. 

The bulletin can be viewed here: https://bdia.org.uk/BDIA/media/Documents/Newsletter%20documments/13-03-20-Office-for-Life-Sciences-Bulletin.pdf

13th March 2020

The BDIA has pulled together some key Government websites providing information on Coronavirus (COVID – 19) which may be helpful to members.

UK Government Response: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response 

This site contains NHS information, guidance for organisations, travel guidance, the number of cases and risk in the UK, and the UK Action Plan. This is the key resource for the latest information and advice.

Guidance for employers and businesses: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/guidance-for-employers-and-businesses-on-covid-19 

 This site provides Government guidance specifically to support employers and businesses with their preparations.  This provides guidance on what to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settings; what advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areas; and actions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19.

The Government is focusing its public information campaign on the importance of hand washing, stressing the importance of washing hands more regularly and for twenty seconds, which can be found on the link below. 

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/public-information-campaign-focuses-on-handwashing

Special Business Readiness Bulletin

The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy has published a special bulletin briefing for trade associations concerning COVID-19. The bulletin summarises business support announce in the recent Budget, including new business loan facilities, changes regarding statutory sick pay, small business grants and business rates changes.

See the link here: https://bdia.org.uk/BDIA/media/Documents/Newsletter%20documments/Special_Business_Readiness_Bulletin.pdf

We will update this site regularly when new information is available

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