COVID-19: Update: Another week gone and dentists are still waiting

COVID-19: Update: Another week gone and dentists are still waiting

Dentists in England are still waiting for answers on the general dental practice contract. GDPC Chair, Dave Cottam, has written to Health Minister Jo Churchill MP  ‘to express our ongoing deep frustration’ over the lack of progress in confirming the contractual arrangements for general dental practice during the pandemic. Update on the length of the fallow period following treatments is also awaited.

Update

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, with a weekly video update from chief executive, Martin Woodrow.

The GDP contract

In his letter to the minister, Dave Cottam wrote: “One of the key aspects of that letter was an indication that there would be ‘an agreed and fair reduction for any variable costs associated with service delivery (e.g. in recognition of reduced consumable costs)’. Dentists need to know this abatement figure in order to understand their income. Despite regular discussion between NHS England and the BDA over past months,that figure is yet to be confirmed.

He concluded: “I am sure that you will appreciate that this lack of certainty is destabilising for practices during a period whenproviding dentistry is already difficult enough. The BDA is keen to contribute positively as dentistry emerges from the pandemic but there are some basic contractual issues that are now long outstanding. This is unacceptable. We ask you to intervene to ensure that NHS dentistry can move ahead and do what it does best in continuing to provide excellent patient care.”

Parliamentary Questions

In answer to questions from Andrew Rosindell (Romford) and Anthony Mangnall (Totnes), Health Minister Jo Churchill said that dentistry outside urgent care centres began to gradually restart from 8 June where practices assess that they have the necessary personal protective equipment and infection prevention and control. The aim was to increase levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.

She continued: “We still expect all NHS dental practices to provide urgent telephone advice and triage. Dentists are giving urgent advice remotely and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics. All urgent face to face treatment that is clinically necessary will still be available for patients who are triaged by their dentist or NHS 111 into one of over 600 urgent dental care centres set up by NHS England and NHS Improvement.”

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

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Anthony Kilcoyne
NHS England Abatement now 16.75% announced....
Better late than never - this document talks about Abatement and activity relating to 6th June, but only published on Monday 13th July so clearly many weeks if not months behind.
See: https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/wp-content/uploads/sites/52/2020/03/C0603-Dental-preparedness-letter_July-2020.pdf

However still many unknowns, not just re: NHS financials and how exactly one measures the minimum 20% of previous clinical activity going forward etc ,but there are 2 elephants in this room now:

1. At 20% of previous clinical activity how can't the nation's Dental and medical Health deteriorate significantly, given pre-Covid19 100% clinical activity was ONLY seeing some 50% of the population over a two year period (much less annually) statistically !

2. There is still NO financial help for Private Practices, either those operating at 100% Private level or now, commonly, those 'mixed' Practices both NHS and PVT, so 50/50 still UNVIABLE !!

Yours forwardly,

Tony.

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