COVID-19: Update: CDO Wales outlines 3-phase route to recovery

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Dr Colette Bridgman, Chief Dental Officer for Wales, has written to dentists in Wales outlining how they can restart dental services through three phases, starting on July 1. But former FGDP Dean and Welsh GDP, Trevor Ferguson, says that it will mean that many practices facing imminent financial ruin, with the consequent loss of services to patients.

CDO Wales says that as levels of coronavirus stabilise and the restrictions begin to ease, they are looking at how they can restart dental services through three phases:  

  • First phase, beginning on July1: Urgent dental centres and dental practices will introduce more treatments and a full range of care, including fillings, will be available at some local dental practices to everyone who urgently needs them and has experienced problems during lockdown. This group of people will be offered assessment and care first.
  • Second phase: A full range of care will be available in more practices and prioritised for people who need treatment, including those who have had treatment delayed because of the pandemic.
  • Third phase: routine check-ups for people with no dental problems and good oral health will be resumed.

Letter to The Times

However, in a letter to The Times on June 10, Dr Trevor Ferguson, past dean, FGDP(UK) and of the British Association of Private Dentistry (Wales) says many European countries have continued with almost normal dental services during the pandemic and on Monday English dental practices were able to join them. By contrast, he says, the Welsh government believes January 2021 is more appropriate for the full return of dental services. Furthermore, he says, it has confused the resumption of services with reforming NHS dental contracts.

The letter continues: “The situation in Wales will become ever more acute in the coming months. All UK dental practices are independently owned. Although some NHS funds are available to support practices, more than 50 per cent of dentistry in Wales is provided privately. The pending loss of the furlough scheme, coupled with the exhaustion of dentists’ personal funds, mean that many practices are facing imminent financial ruin, with the consequent loss of services to patients. The Welsh population deserve better than this.”

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