Please see below the latest COVID-19 publication and update from NHS England and NHS Improvement, this has jointly been signed off by the Head of Dental Services Commissioning and the Chief Dental Officer (England)
Please also note all the links embedded in the letter and attachment.
We are writing to update you on the current position of NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) South East regarding the provision of NHS dental services in Kent, Surrey, Sussex, Hampshire & Isle of Wight, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire that now forms the South East region. You will be aware of national reports and the difficulties now affecting the NHS. We would like to thank you for all you have been doing at this challenging time.
The immediate priority is the safety of dental teams and their patients. NHSE/I guidance is detailed within the Standard Operating Procedure for primary dental care settings (including community dental services) which is available via this link https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-
content/uploads/2020/02/ 20200305-COVID-19-PRIMARY- CARE-SOP-DENTAL-PUBLICATION- V1.1.pdf and the letter of preparedness from our Deputy Chief Dental Officer available via this link https://www.england.nhs.uk/ coronavirus/wp-content/ uploads/sites/52/2020/03/ preparedness-letter-primary- care-dental-9-march.pdf In addition supplementary information from the Office of the Chief Dental Officer for England has been produced which is attached and available via this link https://www.england.nhs.uk/ coronavirus/wp-content/ uploads/sites/52/2020/03/ Issue-2-Preparedness-letter- for-primary-dental-care-20- March-2020.pdf please follow the latest guidance and not that previously circulated by the Chief Dental Officers for Scotland and Wales.
We appreciate that some practices are experiencing a drop in patient flow and also a reduction in staff levels. As a result of this and the uncertainty surrounding aerosol generating procedures (AGP), we understand that some practices are considering whether to close. At the current time practices should remain open unless advised to close by the Health Protection Team, although it is acknowledged that practices may need to close temporarily for cleaning or in the case of insufficient staff to provide even limited urgent care to patients that do not have COVID symptoms and should this become necessary you should implement your business continuity plan and notify the commissioner. With the closure of schools from today we understand that child care arrangements will be a challenge, however dental teams have been identified as key workers and so staff/performers with children should notify their schools/nurseries so that they may continue to attend.
With immediate effect we ask that all communication to the dental commissioning team is via this email england.southeastdental@nhs.
net rather than individual email addresses or the former Wessex or Thames Valley generic email addresses. If notifying us of a temporary practice closure due to advice from the Health Protection Team, for cleaning or due to performer/staff absences please state “Practice Closure” your contract name and number in the subject line of the email.
In line with today’s guidance and the larger number of patients that are now self-isolating, the previously advised arrangements for self-isolating patients with an emergency dental need to contact their local Community Dental Service where a domiciliary visit may be considered if treatment cannot wait, is no longer adequate to meet what will become an increasing need. The dental commissioning team will be urgently formulating a plan for the delivery of urgent dental care to patients with COVID symptoms across the South East region and will notify you when these arrangements are in place. We look forward to working collaboratively with all sectors of dentistry across the South East in order to ensure the delivery of urgent dental care to our patients and your assistance in this matter will be greatly appreciated during this period of uncertainty.
We recognise that these are unprecedented circumstances. NHS England and NHS Improvement national guidance will be issued detailing how regional teams are required to manage dental contracts for both the 2019/20 year end as well as going forward where there will be a greater impact on the 2020/21 contract year. We are currently unable to advise on this and in the absence of such guidance monthly contract payments will continue; we will cascade the guidance in due course.
Once again we would like to thank you for all you have been doing at this challenging time.
The Dental Team
NHS England and NHS Improvement – South East Region