COVID-19: Update: CQC advice, Minister’s mistake, Mouthwash research

COVID-19: Update: CQC advice, Minister’s mistake, Mouthwash research

The CQC has updated its advice to dental practices, encouraging dentists to take note of CDO’s advice. Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, misdirects dental patients to their GP. Cardiff University research suggests that mouthwash could inactivate coronavirus.

Care Quality Commission updated advice

The CQC has updated its advice to practices in England the BDA reports. The new guidance confirms that: “The decision to offer dental care services is one for the provider to take. Alongside guidance given by Public Heath England (PHE) and the General Dental Council (GDC), CQC 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.

The CQC cannot require providers of dental care services to close, unless we find clear evidence of a breach of our regulations that requires consideration of the use of our powers under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations.

The advice continues: “As part of our regulatory function we will assess the extent to which providers are providing an appropriate level of safety within the context of our regulations. In doing so we will 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.”

Minister’s mistake

Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, was replying to a question from Conservative MP Sir Desmond Swayne, who asked when would dentists be able to treat their own patients as dental hubs could ‘offer little more than extractions’.

The Minister slipped up by mistakenly saying that anyone who needs urgent dentistry ‘can get a dentist’s appointment through their GP.’ He continued: “Dentistry is there and available. However, we are also working on the restart of dentistry more broadly.”  He said he understood the challenges for ​dental practices. Adding “With NHS contracts, we continue to keep the funds flowing, but of course many dentists rely on their private income as well, and we support the mixed market in dentistry. What we need to do is get dentistry up and running when we can, but it has to be safe.”

Mouthwash research

New research, led by Cardiff University, has found that mouthwash could be an effective way to help reduce the spread of coronavirus. They examined whether mouthwash has the ability to damage the outer fatty (lipid) membrane that envelopes coronavirus, and, in turn, inactivate the virus in the throat.

Previous studies have shown that mouthwashes which contain low amounts of ethanol, povidone-iodine and cetylpyridinium could disrupt the fatty membranes around other viruses. This latest research suggests that coronavirus may be similarly affected, and, while it is not yet confirmed, it has prompted researchers to call for further investigation.

To keep up to date with developments from the BDA, dentists should visit their Coronavirus update page[i], which is available to all whether or not they are members and is continuously revised.

[i] https://bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/latest-updates.aspx

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