Latest News – Useful Government information sources on COVID – 19

The BDIA has pulled together some key Government websites providing information on Coronavirus (COVID – 19) which may be helpful to members.

Latest News – Useful Government information sources on COVID – 19

09 June 2021

BDIA members are reminded that they have access to a professional business support helpline operated by Croner. The helpline is able to offer advice and guidance on HR, employment law and health & safety issues. The line can be reached on 0844 561 8133, quoting policy number 28763.

Please see the following link for a published document from Croner for members regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) concerns and Q&As:Coronavirus-Q-A—Associations



Chief Dental Officers commit to review of COVID roadmap

Update 22nd of February 2021

Following the British Dental Association’s call for a roadmap to ease COVID restrictions on dentistry, the UK’s four Chief Dental Officers have committed to a review of the current measures. 

The joint statement by Sara Hurley, Tom Ferris, Colette Bridgman and Michael Donaldson stated that:

“All four UK Chief Dental Officers share their profession’s ambition for increasing access which needs to be done safely and effectively, which is why there is now going to be a further review of the UK-wide infection control guidance in the light of the current science and prevalence.”

The BDA called for the four CDOs to commission the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) to develop a roadmap for the easing of restrictions, taking account of:

  • Community infection, transmission and vaccination rates
  • The relevance of AGPs to COVID transmission
  • The full range and impact of international dental SOPs
  • The impact on oral health inequalities and the dental workforce.

    Read the BDA’s statement


Update on the vaccination of frontline industry staff

Update 22nd of February 2021

As we reported earlier this month, Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi MP, has written a letter confirming that staff meeting certain criteria would be considered ‘frontline healthcare staff’ and therefore should be prioritised to be offered a vaccine.

In light of this letter, and in line with other associations in the sector, we would advise following these steps* when identifying and progressing the vaccination of relevant industry staff:

1) Conduct a thorough assessment of which members of staff are eligible for vaccination, based on the three criteria below:

a) Do these workers work, all or part of the time in a Hospital, Care-home, primary care or community-based setting where many patients vulnerable to COVID-19 are cared for?

b) Are these workers likely to be infected by COVID-19 themselves because they are in regular contact with people who are infected or with infected material?

c) Are these workers more likely to transmit COVID-19 to multiple persons particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 or to other staff in a healthcare environment?

 2) Once eligible members of staff have been identified, those individuals should book an appointment through this portal on the basis that they are eligible frontline workers. 

3) When attending a vaccination centre, staff should bring evidence of their eligibility. It is suggested that this includes:

a) The letter from Minister Zadhim Zahawi

b) A statement from their employer on company headed paper

c) A work photo ID card or, where this is not available, alternative photo identification (e.g. passport or driving licence).

*these steps relate to the registration process in NHS England. We are currently seeking clarification on equivalent procedures elsewhere in the UK. 

Read the letter


Minister provides support for vaccination of frontline industry staff

Update 5th of February 2021

In recent weeks the BDIA has conducted a survey of members concerning the impact of COVID-19 on key workers and collaborated with partner Associations across the sector to campaign for such staff being prioritised for access to vaccinations.

Following this work, we are pleased to report that the Minister for COVID Vaccine Deployment, Nadhim Zahawi MP, has today confirmed that staff meeting the following criteria would be considered ‘frontline healthcare staff’ and therefore should be prioritised to be offered a vaccine:

a) Do these workers work, all or part of the time in a Hospital, Care-home, primary care or community-based setting where many patients vulnerable to COVID-19 are cared for?

b) Are these workers likely to be infected by COVID-19 themselves because they are in regular contact with people who are infected or with infected material?

c) Are these workers more likely to transmit COVID-19 to multiple persons particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 or to other staff in a healthcare environment?

We are pleased to see the importance of such industry staff recognised by Government and we will continue to circulate any further updates. 

Read the letter

Updated dental Standard Operating Procedures for England

Update 5th of February 2021

An updated set of dental Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) has been published for England. The changes, which mostly relate to the testing and vaccination of dental practice staff, include:

Symptomatic staff can access testing via the GOV.UK website (or call 119) and should identify themselves as essential workers. 

Staff with symptoms of COVID-19 should stay at home as per advice for the public. Staff who are well enough to continue working from home should be supported to do so. If staff become unwell with symptoms of COVID-19 while at work, they should put on a surgical face mask immediately, inform their line manager and return home.

Lateral flow antigen testing is now being rolled out in primary care for asymptomatic staff delivering NHS services in England. Primary care contractors that ordered lateral flow devices on or before 17 January 2021 will now have received their delivery. Orders received after that date will be delivered as part of their business as usual deliveries from PCSE.

Patient-facing primary care staff are asked to test themselves twice weekly and report their results to Public Health England (PHE), via the NHS Digital online platform.

For patients who are COVID-19 possible/confirmed cases and contacts (seen in designated Urgent Dental Care Centres only) – avoid AGPs where possible, unless there is no alternative treatment option and/or the AGP intervention cannot be deferred.

Read the updated England SOPs



SDCEP publishes update to AGP mitigation report

Update 26th of January 2021

The Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) has published an update to its Mitigation of Aerosol Generating Procedures in Dentistry – A Rapid Review. 

The update takes the form of a new appendix, also available as a standalone document, which takes into account an updated literature review and the implications of the substantial increase in prevalence of COVID-19 infections in recent months, the emergence of more transmissible variants of SARS-CoV-2, no reports of transmission associated with dental care, the greater availability of testing and the vaccination programme that has recently commenced.

However, the SDCEP Working Group agreed that at present, despite these developments, the agreed positions and other conclusions within the Rapid Review remain unchanged.

Download the updated SDCEP report

Download the new appendix


BDIA calls for vaccination of industry staff

Update 25th of January 2021

Following our survey of members’ experiences in relation to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on industry staff accessing dental practices, such as those maintaining or installing equipment or offering technical support, we have worked with colleagues across the wider devices sector to make the case for such staff receiving priority COVID-19 vaccinations. 

As a result of this process, the importance of such industry staff and the impact of COVID-related absences has been communicated to Government ministers in support of the argument that they should be included in the appropriate vaccine priority group (Priority Group 2 as of 6th January 2021).

Key findings from our survey included:

An average of 13 employees per company were undertaking onsite maintenance, repair and installation of dental equipment, or other patient-facing activity.

Every responding company indicated support for such staff receiving priority COVID-19 vaccinations.

The impact on the provision of dental treatment of the non-attendance of these staff at a dental surgery was considered to be highly severe, with an average rating of 4.75 out of 5 (where 1 is the lowest severity and 5 is the highest severity).

Three quarters of companies indicated that they had been unable to fulfil their obligations to dental practices as a result of staff absences.

62.5% of companies indicated that absence amongst such staff was greater than what would typically be expected for the time of year, with these absences on average nearly 150% above normal levels.

On average, 67% of staff absences have been due to factors related to COVID-19, such as shielding, self-isolation or coronavirus infection.


Support for the dental and medical devices industry – Key worker vaccinations

Update 13th of January 2021

The Association is working with fellow medical device sector trade organisations to explore whether the Government would consider whether certain medical and dental device/products key workers could receive priority COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Guidelines from the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) highlight that the first priorities for the COVID-19 vaccination programme should be the prevention of mortality and the protection of health and social care staff and systems. A number of dental and medical device industry staff e.g. service engineers, could be considered as a critical component of these systems, fulfilling key functions to support the delivery of healthcare. There is an argument that certain industry employees could be considered frontline health and care workers. They may be maintaining or installing essential equipment, offering technical support for specialised procedures, or, in other device sectors, delivering direct patient care in the community. These workers work alongside NHS Trust and community care colleagues and, in our case, NHS private dental colleagues, to provide essential support, the only difference being that they are employed by industry rather than the NHS, or community care or dental providers.  

It has been brought to the attention of Ministers that these indispensable staff should be recognised as frontline health and social care workers, and placed in the appropriate vaccine priority group (Priority Group 2 as of 6th January 2021). Industry staff who should be considered as frontline health and social care workers include those installing and maintaining medical equipment in hospitals, (dental) primary care and community settings, those providing clinical support in hospitals and community settings and those providing in-hospital managed services.

In order to further develop our case we have prepared a short questionnaire for members who employ staff engaged in onsite maintenance, repair and installation to complete.

Any information collected will be treated in the strictest confidence, and will only be shared in an anonymised, aggregated format. Company name and contact details are only requested for internal BDIA use. 

Complete the survey


Government national PPE supply – PPE Portal supplies extended to 30th June 2021

Update 13th of January 2021

We understand that the DHSC undertook a consultation exercise directly with its supplier contacts before Christmas on the future of PPE provision after March 2021. Following those discussions, the PPE portal has now responded to correspondence from the Association and we can report that supplies of free PPE to NHS dentists and orthodontists through the PPE Portal will now continue until 30th June 2021, with a review of the provision of PPE for July onwards in April.

The DHSC has also told us that, “Reflecting on the likely trajectory of the pandemic we will review the provision of COVID PPE for July onwards in April 2021 when we will have more information and a better understanding of the ongoing requirement in the light of the roll-out of the national vaccination programme.

Please let us reiterate this PPE provision is for COVID-19 only, not business-as-usual activities and wholesalers are aware that we will happily accept any evidence of stockpiling by end users should they know that is the case. We can then consider and agree how best to manage the availability of PPE until June (including a review of order limits) and of course this understanding will inform discussions in March/April regarding the necessity of supply in the future.

We are also reviewing with colleagues in Public Health England the guidance that impacts the type of PPE (particularly gloves) required by healthcare settings. We will pursue the possibility of enhancing the guidance to be more specific around the circumstances where vinyl gloves would be suitable. However, this is a public health issue which we can only add our voice. The development and assurance of guidance lies, quite understandably, with public health experts in PHE and their assessment of the risk to health”.

Currently the PPE supplied to NHS dentists and orthodontists via the portal consists of type IIR masks, FFP (3) masks, aprons, gloves, visors, gowns and bottles of hand hygiene (usually 500ml).


Government PPE reimbursement for dental practices

Update 17th of December 2020

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has published guidance on claiming reimbursement for COVID-19 PPE-related costs in dental practice. 

Dental practices will be able to claim for personal protective equipment (PPE) between 18 January and 20 February 2021, which means no claims will be accepted after 20 February 2021. Claims can only be made for PPE purchased between 27 February and 31 December 2020 for use in the delivery of NHS dental services as a result of COVID-19 infection control guidance.

COVID-19 PPE items for dentistry are defined by DHSC as:

  • type IIR masks
  • FFP2/3 masks
  • gowns (sterile and non-sterile)
  • aprons
  • gloves
  • eye protection (visors and goggles)
  • hand sanitiser
  • clinical waste bags

Claims must be for PPE that is intended for use prior to 31 March 2021. No further reimbursement will be made for PPE purchased after the date of 31 December 2020.

Read the guidance


New UDA targets for dentists in England?

Update 17th of December 2020

Following a question in the House of Commons earlier this afternoon, the Health Secretary Matt Hancock has confirmed that an agreement has been reached for a new UDA target for dentists in England. 

While we are seeking an official announcement from NHS England detailing the agreement, the British Dental Association has published a statement by the Chair of its General Dental Practice Committee, Dave Cottam. The statement, which can be accessed below, indicates that practices will be required to achieve 45% of their pre-pandemic UDA targets.

BDA Statement


GDC research on the impacts of COVID-19 on oral health and dentistry

Update 4th of December 2020

The General Dental Council has published the first independent research report from its programme established to understand the impacts of COVID-19 on oral health and dentistry. The research looked at the impact of COVID-19 on the public’s choices about their oral health during the first national lockdown and how they intend to access services in the near future.

Key findings from the report include:

  • The majority of those surveyed were aware that only urgent services were available during lockdown, however, a sizable minority were not, suggesting an ongoing need for clear information about the dental and oral health services and treatments that are now available.
  • While some patients reported being nervous about returning to their dental practice, most were just as likely to visit their dentist now as they were before the pandemic. A higher proportion of respondents said that they would continue to seek care for fillings, root canal work, extractions and implants, check-ups and treatment for gum conditions, than was the case for cosmetic dentistry, or non-dental treatments (such as face fillers). 
  • Some patient groups are more concerned than others about visiting their dentist while COVID-19 risks persist. For instance, 70% of Black and 68% of Asian respondents agreed that they would not go to a dental practice unless they had an urgent issue, compared to 52% of White respondents, raising the potential for oral health inequalities to be exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • To reassure the public and patients that it is safe to visit dental practices, respondents suggested measures that dental practices should implement, including staff wearing PPE, providing clear information about COVID-19 control measures in place before an appointment, and ensuring extra cleaning and sanitation takes place before and after each appointment.

Read the report


National Audit Office report on Government COVID procurement

Update 19th of November 2020

The National Audit Office (NAO) has published its report on Government procurement during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The report addresses Government procurement across a range of goods and services, including Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The NAO found that a total of 8,600 contracts had been awarded across all categories in relation to the Government’s response to the pandemic, with a value of £18bn. PPE accounted for 80% of the number of contracts awarded, and 68% of the total value of contracts awarded. 

On PPE, the report notes that cross-government team was set up to support this procurement, involving around 450 staff from the Department of Health & Social Care, NHS England & Improvement, the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Defence, and the Department for Education. The procurement activity included assessing and processing offers of PPE support from over 15,000 suppliers, leading to the award of over 400 contracts. 

The report highlights a range of issues about how these contracts were awarded, including concerns around transparency and the absence of certain spending controls, and concludes with a number of recommendations for future procurement activity. 

Read the report


Update from Chief Dental Officers on dentistry during second COVID-19 wave

Update 11th of November 2020

The four Chief Dental Officers of the UK have written a joint letter to dental professionals regarding dentistry during the second wave of COVID-19. 

In light of rising COVID-19 cases the letter acknowledges that pressure on services will inevitably be “exacerbated by staff shortages due to sickness or caring responsibilities” and that this pressure will be “prolonged throughout the winter period”. 

The four CDOs ask dental professionals to use their professional judgement to assess risk and to make sure that people receive safe care, noting that the national SOPs “remain your guides throughout this next phase of the pandemic” and that all registrants should “follow GDC guidance using their judgement in applying the principles of best practice to the situations they face”. 

The letter also addresses pressure on dental training, stating that the GDC, education bodies in the four nations and the Dental Schools Council are working to ensure that the long-term prospects of those in training “are not compromised by this prolonged health crisis”.

Read the letter


Update on PPE supply to dentists in Wales

Update 9th of November 2020

The Welsh Government has provided an update on the situation surrounding the availability of PPE for dentists. 

The letter from Warren Tolley, Deputy Chief Dental Officer for Wales, to Local Health Boards Heads of Primary Care notes that it has become “increasingly obvious that there are still global challenges around securing FFP3 masks”. By contrast, the supply of type IIR masks is not seen to be a problem, with stock levels remaining good. 

The letter states that the NHS Wales Shared Services Partnership (NWSSP) will continue to supply FFP3 masks “where possible”, but that before stocks are depleted practices should be advised to “look at using alternative respirator masks, such as re-useable masks”. However, NWSSP is not able to supply these types of masks and the Welsh Government will not fund PPE outside of the framework operated by NWSSP. 

Read the update


Dentistry during England national lockdown restrictions

Update 2nd of November 2020

England is due to enter into a four week period of enhanced lockdown restrictions from Thursday 5th November, following an announcement by the Prime Minister on Saturday. 

The Government has published guidance stating that a number of public services including “the NHS and medical services” will be able to stay open during lockdown and that is is supporting the NHS to “safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services”. 

The Chief Dental Officer England, Sara Hurley, has since confirmed that this includes NHS dental services:

“Therefore, during the period of tighter restrictions practices should remain open to treat patients in line with the standard operating procedure and with regard to the recently updated national infection prevention control dental appendix.”

Read the guidance

Read the CDO’s update


New dental Standard Operating Procedures for Scotland

Update 30th of October 2020

NHS Scotland has published revised Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for dentists in Scotland. The publication follows updated SOPs for England earlier this week. 

The revised Scottish SOPs incorporate the SDCEP report’s recommendations in relation to Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGPs) and revised dental Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) guidance. The SOPs require the use of an FFP3 respirator (or hood) for AGP procedures. 

The document states that dental services “should now be expanded to allow for the full range of NHS dental care from the 1st November 2020”. However, this treatment will remain subject to issues such as physical distancing, fallow time and the use of enhanced PPE that will limit the volume of care that may be provided. 

Read the revised Scottish SOPs


NHS England publishes revised dental Standard Operating Procedures

Update 28th of October 2020

An updated version of NHS England’s dental Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) has been published, incorporating elements of the SDCEP report and the latest COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental appendix. 

The revised SOP refers to the post-AGP downtime requirements set out in the dental appendix to the latest COVID-19 infection prevention and control guidance, whereby a baseline of 20 minutes is given where a surgery can reach 6-9 Air Changes per Hour (ACH) or 15 minutes where at least 10 ACH can be achieved. These post-AGP down times can be reduced further through the use of high volume suction and rubber dam. 

As detailed in the UK IPC Guidance for dental settings FFP3 masks are recommended for AGP procedures. As recommended in the main IPC guidance on page 41, “FFP3 and loose fitting powered hoods provide the highest level of protection and are recommended when caring for patients in areas where high risk aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) are being performed. Where the risk assessment shows an FFP2 respirator is suitable, they are recommended as a safe alternative”. This means that as there are existing stocks of FFP2 masks, it is understood that it may be necessary for practices to continue to use these until staff are successfully fit tested and supplied with the appropriate FFP3.

The BDIA is continuing to liaise with Government on the operation of its PPE Portal and the future provision of FFP2/3 masks. 


Read the revised SOP

Read the IDC dental appendix


Wales CDO provides update on dentistry during COVID ‘firebreak’ period

Update 23rd of October 2020

The Welsh CDO, Dr Colette Bridgman, has provided an updated to dental teams on the operation of dental services during the forthcoming ‘firebreak’ phase of COVID-19 restrictions. 

National firebreak restrictions will apply in Wales from 18:00 on 23rd October to 00:01 on Monday 9 November. The letter confirms that the Welsh Government plans to continue with the delivery of dental care services during this period using the current Standard Operating Procedure. 

In the letter, the CDO says that NHS dental care provision should focus on “urgent care and addressing delayed and postponed treatment”. Where there is capacity for routine assessment, teams should use clinical judgement “to offer any such availability to those patients…at risk of oral health deterioration”. 

While the letter states that dentistry remains a valid reason to travel, the CDO says that dental teams should not encourage “unnecessary travel for routine check-up appointments that can, and should be, delayed”. 

Read the guidance 


FGDP(UK) and CGDent publish updated COVID-19 guidance

Update 21st of October 2020

The Faculty of General Dental Practice UK and the College of General Dentistry have published an updated synopsis of their guidance on the implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice. The latest update is ‘version 2’ of the guidance, which was originally published on 1 June 2020. 

The updated and additional guidance in version 2 covers:

  • recommended fallow periods following higher risk procedures (incorporating the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme’s recommendations)
  • air ventilation and air cleaners
  • the use of the 3 in 1 syringe
  • the risk of aerosolisation from dental handpieces
  • decontamination of the surgery
  • the relevance of the R number and prevalence rate
  • the protection of vulnerable staff
  • Read the guidance
  • Public Health England publishes updated Infection Prevention & Control Guidance for dental services

Read the guidance

Public Health England publishes updated Infection Prevention & Control Guidance for dental services

Update 21st of October 2020

Public Health England has published an updated version of its COVID-19 infection prevention and control guidance for dental services, incorporating recommendations contained in the SDCEP report. 

The key messages of the guidance include:

  • Patients will fall into either low, medium or high risk COVID-19 pathways.
  • Patients must be screened, triaged (and when available tested) prior to treatment.
  • Treatment for patients who are on the high-risk pathway should be restricted to urgent care only and these patients will need to be separated by space or time from other patients.
  • Airb

More To Explore

Become a Member

Join us in championing the dental industry

Join the BDIA today and take your dental business to the next level. Whether you are a manufacturer, supplier, or service provider, the BDIA offers a range of resources and benefits to support your success.

dentists at reception
Edit Template