BDA Scotland is asking the Scottish government for clearer communication and additional financial support as dentistry reopens.
Yesterday Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland’s movement into stage three of lockdown. She says the country is currently meeting ‘the six criteria’ set out by WHO to tackle COVID-19.
As part of stage three, dental practices can start offering non-aerosol routine dental care from 13 July. But BDA Scotland says the 30% increase in GDP Allowance, whilst welcome, isn insufficient to restore practice income.
‘The Scottish government has a responsibility to manage patient expectations,’ David McColl, chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, says. ‘Yes, we are moving to the next phase of reopening, but very little will change in terms of the treatments we can offer to our patients.
‘Routine dentistry is not returning, and the government needs to clearly communicate this fact. Dentists now also face a vast backlog of dental treatment. It will be some time before we return to anything resembling “business as usual”.
‘Ministers now need to provide appropriate financial support to ensure the sustainability of NHS dentistry. We need the government to engage more regularly and effectively with the profession and the public as we continue to navigate our way through these difficult times.’
Moving to phase three
Tom Ferris, Scotland CDO, announced the move to non-aerosol routine care last month as Scotland slowly lifted lockdown measures.
The announcement came after the publication of further ‘route map dates’ to ease lockdown restrictions on dentistry in Scotland. The move to phase three is based on successfully passing relevant review points:
- 2 July for the later phase two measures
- 9 July for the early phase three measures.
In addition, NHS Scotland says it will begin work to safely return aerosol generating procedures to dental practices.
‘Thank you for your support through this challenging time and for your efforts to remobilise NHS dentistry in phase 2. We greatly appreciate this,’ Tom Ferris, Scotland CDO, says. ‘I can now confirm that the government is stepping up the remobilisation of NHS dental services. Phase three can start from Monday 13 July, with NHS dental contractors able to see patients for non-aerosol routine care.
‘I can confirm the government is considering closely the evidence and guidance around AGPs. To determine the full extent of the treatment offer available to patients in phase three. We are also listening to NHS dentists about on-going financial support. We will look closely at these issues as we move to phase three. Full guidance will follow as soon as possible.
‘I remain confident that all dental teams will continue to support the government’s aim to remobilise dental services safely within phase three. We appreciate your forbearance as we navigate through a challenging period.’