BAPD calls on CDO to resign

BAPD calls on CDO to resign

Dentists from The British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) are calling for the resignation of the Chief Dental Officer of NHS England, Sara Hurley, Newsweek reports. The Association announced its vote of no confidence received 97.5% approval after what it called a dental "crisis" caused by the "unnecessary pain and suffering and even life-threatening situations some patients have had to face".

The Newsweek report[i] says that all non-urgent dental care has been canceled, with around 9,000 dental practices effectively closing down. It says that there is currently no official guidance from Hurley for dental practices in England to follow once they do reopen, with the CDO saying that guidance to not open practices remains the same.

This response has been criticized by Conservative member of parliament Esther McVey, a former work and pensions secretary. "After speaking to dentists, they are concerned there are patients that are in pain who cannot get the appropriate level of care, or access emergency provision," she told the House of Commons.

"Dentists are highly-skilled healthcare professionals and they are fully aware of the measures needed to protect themselves and their patients. They do this every day. They will know what additional measures they need to take or put in place to ensure both their safety and that of the patient. It is vital they are allowed back to work or at least given a timetable for when surgeries can reopen."

In a letter sent separately to Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Chair of the Health Select Committee Jeremy Hunt, health minister Jo Churchill, Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer and the CDO herself, the BAPD said that, while "the COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global event that has led to a crisis in the delivery of healthcare generally," the virus has "exposed serious gaps in the planning and administrative systems for the delivery of dental services in our country" in recent weeks. It has starkly exposed a gaping void in the delivery of the most basic emergency dental care, even taking into account the need to protect the public from unnecessary travel and contact with others," the letter said.

The BAPD says that numerous reports of "DIY dentistry" have been received with people either unable or unwilling to receive the help of a qualified professional. "We have seen UDCs close due to a lack of financial support from the NHS, leaving patients, dentists and 111 call handlers with unnecessary challenges. Patients who today are very savvy about treatment options for their dental health are being presented with a single third world treatment option; that of extraction, meaning the loss of many teeth which could have otherwise been saved."

Despite all the warnings about the risks to frontline workers and the number of doctors and nurses who have died after contracting COVID-19, the BAPD says its members are well prepared to reopen and should not have been told to fully shut without consultation.

"Dental practices should never have been compelled to close in the manner in which they were, and it should never be allowed to happen again, and certainly not for any further COVID-19 wave, if there is one," the letter reads. "A system needs to be in place where dentists, irrespective of whether the care they provide is funded by the NHS or privately, have input into a coordinated approach for the delivery of dental care in the UK.”

[i] https://www.newsweek.com/dentists-england-chief-dental-officer-resign-covid-19-response-1504937

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