NHS England and NHS Improvement South East continue to provide regular Covid-19 updates through their GDP and Urgent Dental Care Hub Briefing Newsletters, latest Issues 7(this included the SE LDC’s FAQs) and 8. The LDC continues to attend the main Covid-19 Urgent Dental Care System Steering Group and the weekly SOPPE/Operations Sub Group.
The LDC also regularly attends the fortnightly local UDC Hubs update meetings.
The UDC Steering Group is considering various primary dental care provision scenarios that might develop, moving forwards.
Moving to Level 4 has created further development within this workstream and we have had sight of a letter sent out from the OCDO to LDN Chairs which indicates business as usual for the time being.
Currently, the Operations Group is looking at:
- The impact of the developing levels 4 and 5
- Contractual concerns – lack of progress on the Q3/4 contractual arrangements due to changes within the NHS hierarchy, holidays and delayed modelling being pushed along by financial elements of the commissioning process whereby there will be increased access and PCR. It has been guaranteed that nothing will be imposed on the profession without discussions with the BDA. The issue of clawback 19/20 is potentially an issue with a reconciliation and appeals process.
- Communication – patients, local authorities and dental practices.
- Travel – lockdown areas and boundaries with travel between areas.
- PPE – availability
- Treatment priorities – phased treatment, urgent care
Covid-19 antibody testing availability post July 2020 in the South East has been highlighted by the Covid-19 Testing Workstream (South East). The NHS programme manager wants to ensure that dental staff can access an antibody test if required. This test is available through a booking portal until the end of September when the funding ceases and the LDC has offered to help promote this where necessary but numbers are small. We requested to know whether or not antigen testing was specifically available to dental teams but evidently not and available through Pillar2 (mobile testing units) through DHSC ie no separate process.
NHS Organisation changes:
Dentistry’s directorship will be moved to the Primary Care and Community Services and Strategy with Ian Dodge as the Director. Matt Neligan is returning to System Transformation with Ed Waller stepping in as an interim arrangement.
In July, the Government accepted the 2.8% uplift for pay scales for employed Doctors and Dentists. The Department have been in contact with BDA offering a 2.5% uplift based on CPI, however, the final offer is to be announced. Evidently, according to the BDA Associates Group uplifts are rarely passed on by contractors to associates.
The LDC is facilitating two Teams videoconferences for 6 or 7 contract providers and 6 or 7 associates. These 60 minute virtual conferences will take place on Tuesday the 17th November at 12.30 to 1.30pm (providers) and 5.00 to 6.00pm (associates). The LDC has a briefing paper and a leaflet for those practitioners interested in providing input to the process so that the DDRB understands the issues. The areas to be covered are: Southampton, Portsmouth, IOW and Winchester.
Please contact the LDC Secretary for more information if you are interested in being involved in this important work and especially as the issue of practice sustainability is so important to us all. The BDA’s evidence will include recruitment, retention, moral and motivation.
The BDA is offering mediation as a dispute resolution method to open up dialogue between parties and provide solutions. Currently, mediation is carried out by videoconferencing and is available to Expert members.
It is essential for dental teams to be vaccinated against seasonal flu and the national flu immunization programme update states that all frontline health and social care workers should be protected. However, dentists and their teams are not recognized as ‘frontline health workers’ and therefore do not qualify for a free Flu jab. Over 50s will receive a free vaccination after November. An official publication PAR 186 was released on the 16th of September which recommended that frontline healthcare workers accessed the immunization programme. In London, free Flu vaccination for dental teams is commissioned through pharmacies. This is a local arrangement.
Performer Email Lists for LDCs:
There has been a continuing delay in the promised facilitation of the provision of email addresses to LDCs via PCSE.
The BSA has finally agreed as an interim measure to provide performer email addresses only for Covid-19 information communication purposes.
Update from the Chief Dental Officer – 23.09.2020
Following yesterday’s announcements by the Prime Minister I would like to confirm the current intent and approach to maintaining dental care services in England:
- Practices should continue to restore activity in line with letters and SOPs currently in force.
- The current Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Primary Care Dentistry – Transition to Recovery SOP (28 Aug 2020) continues to apply and the version of 28 August contains updates to reflect some changes to support management of the second wave.
- Practices should remain open for the delivery of face to face care, whilst triaging patients remotely in advance, and using remote consultations where appropriate. There remains a need to focus on ensuring face to face urgent and emergency care is available, reviewing interrupted patient care pathways and restarting where appropriate, and patients who normally attend the practice are prioritised for care in terms of their risk.
- In the event of a local outbreak clearly local direction and decisions will take precedence. Please review your practice contingency plans in preparation for your practice’s response to any local lockdown direction, guidance from Public Health England or advice from NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Further updates will be published by NHS England and NHS Improvement in conjunction with your local team.
Please continue to be vigilant and maintain communication with your local dental network chair for advice and guidance on any changes in local restrictions and public health measures.
Thank you again for your continuing support,
Chief Dental Officer for England
K R Percival