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News

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

Latest News - Useful Government information sources on COVID – 19

28 May 2020

Restoration of dental services in Wales

Update 27th of May 2020

The Welsh Government has published its final framework for dentistry, outlining its plans for the restoration of dental services and the de-escalation of the COVID-19 red alert pandemic plan - "from June/July 2020 to March 2021 and beyond". 

As has been set out in Scotland and indicated by the CDO England, the Welsh Government has stated that the resumption of dental treatment will require a "phased approach". The progression of this phased approach will be tied to other key milestones in the pandemic, such as the rate of community transmission, testing and the development of a vaccination programme.

The document also recognises the importance of "the continued supply of level 3 PPE to UDCs and the availability of standard PPE to dental practices". 

Three stages are outlined:

1. Planning for de-escalation from RED alert to heightened AMBER: continuation and strengthening of UDCs for those in need of AGPs. Many of these patients will have on going and definitive treatment need and will need re-assessing in their routine dental practice, receiving dental care and preventive interventions that do not involve an AGP.

2. Address the backlog: provision of definitive care for those who have received urgent care in UDCs, those who contacted practices during the RED alert phase with a dental problem and/or pain or swelling and have an ongoing treatment need. Includes treatment for those not meeting the criteria for urgent/emergency care, but with dental problems/treatment that had been delayed/postponed/self-managed.

3. Reinstatement of routine assessment and care.

The document also details the Government's handling of NHS contractual arrangements and the scientific evidence underlying its approach. 

Available alongside the framework are three further documents: the Welsh Government's De-escalation Standard Operating Procedure, Pandemic Plan for Dentistry in Wales and the Welsh CDO's accompanying letter concerning restoration of services.

Read the Welsh framework

Read the Welsh de-escalation SOP

Read the Welsh de-escalation Pandemic Plan

Read the Welsh CDO's letter

 

Scotland's 'route map through and out of the crisis'

Update 22nd of May 2020

Further to the plan for the remobilisation of dentistry in Scotland that we circulated yesterday, the Scottish government has now published its route map for easing the country's lockdown restrictions. 

Dentistry is mentioned several times in the document, which sets out a four phase plan for the lifting and variation of restrictive measures, whereby Phase 4 represents the "full range of health and social care services". 

The route map "provides an indication of the order in which [the Scottish Government] will carefully and gradually seek to lift current restrictions, but does not attempt to specify dates for all of the different phases". The document explains that the decision to progress to a new phase will be based on meeting "particular criteria", such as those set by the World Health Organisation. 

Read the route map

 

Phased plan for remobilisation of NHS Dental Services in Scotland

Update 21st of May 2020

The CDO Scotland, Tom Ferris, has outlined a three phase plan for the remobilisation of NHS dental services. The key phases of remobilisation that have been identified are:

Phase 1: Increasing Capacity of Urgent Dental Care Centres (UDCCs)

  • Dental practices will remain closed to face-to-face patient consultation during this stage and should work with their NHS Boards to prepare to receive patients under Phase 2(a). 
  • UDCC capacity is being expanded to increase the scope of treatments available.

Phase 2: Restarting Dental Practices

  • 2(a) - all dental practices to open for face-to-face consultation for patients in need or urgent care that can be provided without AGPs. 
  • 2(b) - face-to-face consultation to be expanded to routine care, including examination, and treatment that can be provided using non-AGPs. 
  • UDCCs to continue with referrals for AGPs. 

Phase 3: Introducing AGPs to Dental Practices

  • Limited introduction of AGPs to dental practices, dependent on evidence of risk and possible mitigation.

The CDO also reports on the supply of PPE to support remobilisation, COVID-19 testing and financial support measures. 

Read the update 

 

Government technical specifications for PPE

The Government has circulated essential technical requirements for COVID-19 PPE. The guidance applies only to potential manufacturing for direct Government procurement or donations for frontline health and care purposes.  

The document is aimed a manufacturers intending to make and supply high volumes of gowns, gloves, masks, respirators, eye protection, aprons and coveralls to the UK to protect health and care workers from COVID-19 where the item does not have a CE mark or you wish to propose the alternative use of an existing CE marked product against the relevant legislation:

  • If intended to protect the wearer : EU Regulation 2016/425 on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
  • If intended to protect the patient: Medical Devices Regulations (MDR 2002) which implements Directive 93/42/EEC on medical devices (MD).
  • If you claim it is dual purpose (MD and PPE), the product must comply with MDR.  In addition, they must meet the relevant basic health and safety requirements (BHSR) of the PPE Directive.

Download the Specification

 

CQC updated advice for practices

Update 20th of May 2020

The Care Quality Commission has issued updated advice to dental practices in England.

The CQC has confirmed that the "decision to offer dental care services is one for the provider to take". 

It encourages dental providers to "give proper consideration to the communications from the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) regardless of whether their practice is NHS, private, or mixed" but notes that it "cannot require providers of dental care services to close" unless there is clear evidence of a breach of its regulations. 

The CQC further notes that it will "assess the extent to which providers are providing an appropriate level of safety within the context of our regulations" and will, accordingly, refer to "prevailing guidance, not limited to but including guidance from PHE, the CDO and GDC to help us reach a judgement on the extent to which the service currently being provided complies with our regulations”.

 

Updated COVID-19 symptom advice & Resumption of treatment in Wales

Update 16th of May 2020

Updated coronavirus symptom advice issued

The UK's Chief Medical Officers have issued new information about coronavirus symptoms, stating that all individuals should self-isolate if they develop a new continuous cough, fever or anosmia. 

Anosmia - the loss or a change in your normal sense of smell or taste - had been discussed in relation to coronavirus earlier in the year but has now been formally recognised as a symptom that should trigger self-isolation. 

The statement is available below. 

Read the statement

Imminent dental resumption road map for Wales

As the BDIA continues to participate in a series of weekly meetings organised by the CDO England and NHSE on the resumption of more widespread dental treatment in England, discussions also continue apace in Wales. Welsh CDO, Dr Colette Bridgman, has been involved in discussions over the previous weeks regarding the next steps and how general dentistry will begin to be restored to a new normal in Wales later in the summer.

We understand that there may be a road map published by the Welsh Government in the coming week. We will circulate this as it becomes available.

 

NHS England and CDO – Resumption of wider dental activity

Update 15th of May 2020

Yesterday NHS England and the Office of the Chief Dental Officer hosted the first of a series of meetings to discuss the approach to expanding dental care in England. The BDIA was represented by Chief Executive, Edmund Proffitt. The meeting featured Health Minister, Jo Churchill,  and also involved representatives from the Department of Health, General Dental Council, Care Quality Commission, Faculty of General Dental Practice, Faculty of Dental Surgery, Association of Dental Groups and Public Health England.

It was generally recognised that dental care should be expanded as early as was safely possible, with a desire for a consistent approach towards the position of both NHS and private dentistry. Any progress towards resumption  looks likely to take into account and reflect pandemic conditions, rather than be tied to a specific timetable or dates. There was a wide ranging discussion on the different potential approaches to implementing broader dental activity and the group will meet again next week. We will be working with all the parties involved to push for clear communication of the roadmap to enable the profession and industry to adequately plan for the resumption of wider dental care.

From an industry perspective, the Association raised a number of points, including specific issues relating to PPE provision, availability and cost, its ongoing ARC activity and the provision of clear guidance for industry personnel, such as engineers, attending AGP and non-AGP performing practices going forwards.

 

Working Safely During Coronavirus guidance published.

Update 12th of May 2020

The Government has published new guidance to help ensure safety in the workplace during the coronavirus pandemic. 

A total of 8 guides have been published, offering advice specific to a range of industries and working environments. Of particular interest to members will be the documents focussing on factories, plants and warehouses as well as offices and contact centres. 

The guides addressing the following areas:

  • Thinking about risk
  • Who should go to work
  • Social distancing at work
  • Managing your customers, visitors and contractors
  • Cleaning the workplace
  • Personal protective equipment and face covering
  • Workforce management
  • Inbound and outbound goods

Read the guidance

 

Dentistry discussed in Parliament

Update 6th of May 2020

We were pleased to see the issue of dentistry during the coronavirus pandemic raised in Parliament yesterday, with the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, taking questions on support for dental practices and the resumption of treatment. 

Mr Hancock stated that it was "important to get dentistry back on its feet" as MPs stressed the challenges facing dental practices across both private and NHS treatment. Continuing, Mr Hancock acknowledged the role of PPE as well as the challenge of aerosol generating procedures and said that he would outline proposed plans for reopening dentistry in a safe way. 

We are continuing to work with stakeholders across Government, Parliament and the NHS to ensure that the key role of industry is taken into consideration as these plans for the resumption of dentistry are developed.

 

BDIA briefs Shadow Minister, removal of VAT for PPE

Update 1st of May 2020

Briefing with Shadow Minister

The Chief Executive and Policy & Public Affairs Manager had the opportunity to brief Shadow Minister for Public Health and Patient Safety, Alex Norris MP, yesterday on a range of key issues for the industry. 

The Shadow Minister was very supportive of dentistry and the dental industry, and was keen to support the safe return to wider dental treatment while being aware of the challenges that will need to be addressed in doing so.

As well as providing a comprehensive overview of the impacts of COVID-19, we also encouraged Mr Norris not to lose sight of other issues facing our sector, such as the impact of Brexit and the Medical Device Regulation.

As part of his brief, Mr Norris will also be working on the Medicines and Medical Devices Bill and has requested the BDIA's input as the legislation progresses through Parliament. We will be arranging further briefings to assist in this process as we look to the future of UK device regulation. 

Removal of VAT for PPE

The Government has announced that, as a temporary measure, PPE purchased for protection from infection will be zero rated for VAT. 

The new temporary zero rate, which will apply to PPE supplies as defined by Public Health England's guidance, will apply from 1 May to 31 July 2020. 

Read the announcement

Read the Public Health England guidance

 

BDIA launches AGP Resilience Challenge

Update: 20th of April 2020

The effects of COVID-19 on dentistry have been immense, leading to the cessation of all non-urgent dental care. Going forwards, any resumption of widespread dental treatment will involve changes for both the industry and the profession. As we move closer to a potential easing of lockdown restrictions it is important to turn our attention to how our industry can respond and adapt to this new environment and contribute to the safe expansion of dental activity.

In guidance released by NHS England and the Chief Dental Officer it is clear that Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) are a very significant concern due to their potential for transmitting the virus. AGPs account for a large proportion of dental activity and present a particular challenge in terms of adopting appropriate personal protective equipment and decontamination procedures.

To respond to this situation the BDIA is launching a new initiative, the AGP Resilience Challenge (ARC), with the aim of contributing to a better understanding of the issues surrounding the mitigation of the potential risks associated with AGPs and how the industry can facilitate the provision of safe and effective dental treatment going forwards. 

 

NHS England issues new guidance for dental services

Update: 16th of April 2020

NHS England has issued a new version of its COVID-19 standard operating procedure guidance, with an accompanying update from the Chief Dental Officer, addressing urgent dental care (UDC) provision. 

The standard operating procedure sets out that each UDC system should deliver:

  • a clear local message for the public that routine dental care is not available during this delay phase of the COVID-19 pandemic and advise them what to do if they have a dental emergency
  • a remote consultation and triage service whose outcomes are
    • advice, analgesia, antimicrobials where appropriate (AAA); or
    • referral, when absolutely necessary and treatment cannot be delayed, to a designated UDC site for a face-to-face consultation and treatment
  • a face-to-face consultation and treatment service using a range of providers and locations supported with appropriate PPE for the clinical procedures (AGP, non-AGP) to be carried out at the site. Aerosol generating procedures (AGP) should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.

Other points of note include:

  • In the absence of an NHS-designated UDC service, a dental practice may undertake non-AGP face-to-face dental assessment and care with Level 2 PPE
  • Where AGPs are necessary within UDC services, the use of high power suction and rubber dam is recommended where possible.
  • The use of  3-in-1 syringes, ultrasonic scalers or other pieces of dental equipment powered by air compressor should be avoided at this time and should not be the only reason to wear an FFP3 mask. If, however, they are used as an adjunct to treatment with high-speed drills, staff will already have donned PPE for AGPs. 
  • Decontamination following treatment should follow HTM01 05. In addition, when an AGP has been used, it is recommended that the room is left vacant with the door closed for 20 minutes in a negative pressure isolation room or one hour for a neutral pressure room before performing a terminal clean. 

Read the guidance

Read the CDO's letter

 

Government publishes COVID-19 PPE plan

Update: 14th of April 2020

A new cross-government UK-wide plan to ensure supply of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) has been published. The document outlines three components of the Government's plan: Guidance, Delivery and Future Supply: 

Guidance

The document summarises current guidance on PPE usage in different clinical and non-clinical settings, including links to recommendations based on care settings and procedure type. 

Delivery

The Government states that "emergency drops" of PPE have been organised for primary care providers in the community, including dentists and urgent dental care centres. Further, the Government has "released PPE to wholesalers for onward sale to these providers". 

A new ordering website for PPE is being developed. The website will enable easier registration of PPE requirements. Until the website is launched, essential equipment will continue to be issued based on the expected number of COVID-19 patients.  

Future Supply

A new, dedicated unit has been established to focus on securing PPE supplies and is identifying global suppliers to meet demand.

There are no restrictions in place on individual organisations sourcing PPE from suppliers, providing the PPE is compliant with requirements. 

Read the PPE plan

 

Update: 8th of April 2020

Free BSI standards

As part of its response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BSI has made a range of standards available to download free of charge. Of particular interest to members will be the standards discussing risk management and business continuity, personal protective equipment and hygiene. 

BSI Standards -Business Continuity

BSI Sstandards -PPE

BSI Standards - Hygiene 

 

Updated PPE guidance, dentists' financial support and counterfeit masks

Update: 3rd of April 2020

Updated PPE guidance

The Government has issued revised guidance on the use of Personal Protective Equipment in relation to infection control and prevention for COVID-19. 

The main changes introduced in the latest update are:

  • enhanced PPE recommendations for a wide range of health and social care contexts
     
  • inclusion of individual and organisational risk assessment at local level to inform PPE use
     
  • recommendation of single sessional (extended) use of some PPE items
     
  • re-usable PPE can be used. Advice on suitable decontamination arrangements should be obtained from the manufacturer, supplier or local infection control
     
  • guidance for when case status is unknown and SARS-CoV-2 is circulating at high levels
     
  • recommendation on patient use of facemasks

The guidance recommends filtering face piece respirators (single use) for any aerosol generating procedure and Type IIR fluid-resistant surgical masks for other dental procedures with possible or confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

Updated PPE guidance

Financial support for dentists

The Scottish Government has issued a memorandum providing more details about its funding package for dentists. The document includes revisions to the previously announced funding measures, noting:

The financial support measures which have now be put in place will provide contractors providing GDS with 80 per cent of their NHS gross item of service income. This will equate to their average monthly NHS item of service income in the 2019/20 financial year but will now crucially include the NHS patient charge element normally paid directly to the practice.

Meanwhile in England, the British Dental Association has reported that NHS England has provided clarification regarding its announcement of financial support for dentists. In its letter of 25th March, NHS England stated:

Practices benefiting from continued NHS funding will not be eligible to seek any wider government assistance to small businesses which could be duplicative.

NHS England has now confirmed that principles outlined in this letter are intended to apply to NHS income only. NHS contract holders in mixed practices wishing to claim under Government support schemes should ensure that this is in relation to the proportion of private income only, in line with calculations for determining NHS and private income for business rates reimbursements. 

Scottish funding memorandom

NHS England letter 25th of March

 

Counterfeit and non-compliant face masks

Whilst we urge you all to be vigilant with regard to counterfeit and non-compliant face masks, the government is, in this exceptional situation, allowing the MHRA the powers to authorise the supply a non-CE marked devices in some cases in the interest of the protection of health. This will be under regulations 12(5), 26(3) and 39(2) of the Medical Devices Regulations 2002.

We feel that it is important to remind members of the MHRA guidance on face mask/PPE, as the regulations are different depending on the type of face mask.

Surgical (medical) face masks

This type of mask, intended to protect the patient, are Class I medical devices and must meet the design and safety requirements of the Medical Device Regulations (MDD/MDR) and be CE marked before you can sell them in the UK, or you may be able to apply for exemption from the regulations.

If the surgical masks you want to supply are sterile, then you also need a CE certificate from a notified body for the sterility aspects. The MHRA regulates these types of masks and the Guidance on Class 1 Medical Devices gives further information.

General face masks

If the masks are intended to protect the wearer, they are regulated as personal protective equipment and need to meet the regulations covering PPE products. They will need a notified body to verify the relevant requirements are met. They are not medical devices.

If you need advice on these regulations, or wish to make any exemption/derogation requests for PPE contact the Department for Business, Energy and Industry Strategy (BEIS) at OPSS.enquiries@beis.gov.uk

If you are looking to purchase new supplies of PPE the manufacturer should be asked to provide all necessary evidence to prove the legitimacy of their products, including evidence of any derogations granted by the MHRA. We would urge all members to be extremely diligent when dealing with potential new suppliers of PPE.

Read about the regulatory status of PPE

See the MHRA guidance

 

Be aware of counterfeit face masks!

Update: 2nd of April 2020

Unfortunately, it is no surprise that at this time when there is such heavy demand for face masks counterfeit and non-compliant products are appearing on the market.

In the UK and Europe, surgical masks are Class I medical devices and must display a CE-mark and comply with the requirements of standard EN 14683: Medical face masks - Requirements and test methods.

Please display extra caution if you are contacted by a potential new supplier or are exploring new sources of supply.

The MHRA’s website contains details of device manufacturers registered with the MHRA which you can search by company name or product type (Device Code)  eg. surgical face mask.

The US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also has a useful page on counterfeit respirators/masks that are appearing on the US market.

MHEA Register of device Manufacturers

US CDC information

 

BDIA COVID-19 situation summary

Update: 31st of March 2020

The Association has been updating members regularly on a range of COVID-19 related measures and activities. We now feel it appropriate to take stock and summarise some of the key points relating to BDIA members and their customers.

BDIA member companies – Government support

The Government has announced a number of support schemes for companies and the self-employed. Currently we understand that:

  • Members are making significant use of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those who would otherwise have been laid off.
     
  • Many SME members intend to make use of the Statutory Sick Pay Rebate.
     
  • A number of members are applying under the temporary Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme which supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to loans, overdrafts, invoice finance and asset finance of up to £5 million and for up to six years. Members are finding interest rates vary and are shopping around for the lowest rates.
     
  • A number of members are exploring eligibility under the HMRC’s Time to Pay Service

See all the Government Business Support Measures

BDIA Members – Working from home

BDIA member companies encompass a very broad spectrum of business activity, with some lending themselves more towards home working than others. On the whole, members have introduced widespread home working, with the majority of staff who are able to work from home doing so. Where necessary some staff are still attending premises such as warehouses and manufacturing sites. In these circumstances employers should ensure that employees are able to follow Public Health England guidelines.

For members with staff working on site, 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".

Guidance for childcare

Guidance for employers

Business Conditions – BDIA members

The CDO England’s third update to General Dental Practices and Community Dental Services issued on 25th March stated that: All routine, non-urgent dental care including orthodontics should be stopped and deferred until advised otherwise. Similar advice has been issued across the Devolved Administrations. Following this, members have reported that pretty much all sales of dental products and equipment have reduced to a fraction of what they had been, with general dentistry effectively shut down. Members have also been reporting some customer payment issues. Some sales of PPE, where available, continue, as does a very small amount of product to support the provision of emergency dental treatment.

In other areas:

Following urgent calls from the BDIA and a number of other medical device stakeholder organisations in light of the coronavirus outbreak, the European Commission has recently announced that it is working on a proposal for the delay of the entry into force of the Medical Device Regulation by one year to May 2021.

Despite the COVID-19 position, discussions are continuing on the UK’s future relationship with the EU, although both Chief Negotiators are self–isolating after displaying disease symptoms. The first meeting of the Withdrawal Agreement Joint committee was held by teleconference on 30th March.

 

Dental Practices

Over the last weeks NHS England and the Devolved Health Authorities have published details of financial packages for dental practices, which we have reported in detail to members, as dental practices have effectively ‘closed down’ following the guidance provided to them by the CDOs and health authorities, with some confusion remaining over the provision of emergency dental treatment.

Our colleagues at the BDA are currently focussing on the following main issues affecting your dental customers:

  • NHS Payments - Seeking clarity on payments for NHS dentists in all four UK countries. In England the BDA hopes to confirm that mixed NHS/private practices will continue to receive their NHS contractual payments and it wants these practices to be able to then access wider Treasury support in direct proportion to their private commitments.
     
  • PPE - The issue of what PPE is essential in which circumstances has been a hot topic since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. The BDA await updated advice on PPE, with the four Chief Dental Officers working together. 
     
  • Urgent care centres - The development of urgent dental care systems is of huge importance to the profession and the BDA has argued for non-urgent procedures to cease, but are concerned with the state of progress of the establishment of urgent care centres. The availability of PPE for these systems remains an issue. In Northern Ireland the new dental emergency centres are currently being phased in.
     
  • Redeployment – Currently each nation has variously set up a process for seeking dental volunteers to help with both urgent care and the wider NHS effort. 
     
  • Self-employment - The Chancellor confirmed a package for self-employed workers last week which excluded anyone earning over £50,000. This has an impact on dentists and those in private practice with no access to ongoing NHS earnings. The BDA is raising this with the Chancellor.

 

Public Health England PPE update

Update: 31st of March 2020

Public Health England PPE update

Public Health England has issued a letter providing an update on the supply of Personal Protective Equipment under the coronavirus pandemic. The letter notes that NHS Supply Chain has, over the past two weeks, delivered 170 million FFP3 masks, surgical masks and other PPE equipment for NHS trusts and 58,000 other healthcare settings. 

The letter states that every "GP practice, dental practice and community pharmacy" has received a PPE delivery. However, this claim has already been challenged, including by the British Dental Association.  

The letter goes on to clarify PHE's current guidance as follows:

PPE for high-risk procedures

Recommended PPE to be used by healthcare workers delivering or assisting with an aerosol generating procedure including in Intensive Care Units or the hot zone of an Emergency Department:

         FFP3 respirator

         long sleeved disposable gown

         gloves

         eye protection (disposable goggles or full-face visor).

PPE for other settings

Recommended PPE to be used by healthcare workers within one metre of a patient with possible or confirmed COVID-19 including staff working in hospitals, primary care, ambulance trusts, community care settings, care homes:

         fluid repellent facemask

         apron

         gloves

         eye protection if there is a risk of splashing or exposure to respiratory droplets.

Read the letter

 

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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