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Dental Protection urges Government to support dental professionals struggling with impact of Covid-19 pandemic

Post date: 15/01/2021 | Time to read article: 3 mins

The information within this article was correct at the time of publishing. Last updated 18/01/2021

Dental Protection has called for a number of specific measures to help ensure that dental professionals are well supported following the impact of Covid-19, and that dental patients have access to safe treatment.

In a briefing for yesterday’s Commons Debate on the effect of Covid-19 on dental services, Dental Protection said dentistry has been deeply affected during the pandemic, with patients and dental professionals suffering from significant restrictions on access to dental treatment. It has identified five main areas where action is needed to support dental professionals:

  • Wellbeing: Government policies relating to dentistry must recognise and reflect the significant challenges that dental professionals have faced and continue to face.
  • Complaints: Dental Protection has previously called on the GDC to consider guidance for its staff detailing how to take the context of Covid-19 into account when considering complaints. We are pleased that the GDC has responded to our request for more detailed guidance and yesterday published its contextual advice to Case Examiners on reviewing cases arising during the pandemic.
  • Inappropriate measures of dental activity: Although units of dental activity (UDAs)for practices in England have been reduced in the fourth quarter of the contracting to reflect the current working protocols,they do not sit comfortably within the wider Government strategy to control the spread of Covid-19 and place dentists and their teams under added and unnecessary financial pressures. Dental professionals should remain focussed on treating patients according to clinical need in a safe environment and nothing should distract them from this in these challenging times. Dental Protection is urging the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) to reconsider recent requirement to impose UDA targets.
  • Protecting dental professionals from the virus: We welcome the NHS announcement that Covid-19 vaccines will be rolled out to dental professionals as a priority and would like to see the details of the strategy to accelerate vaccine delivery.
  • Antibiotics and remote consultations: During the pandemic we have seen a worrying rise in antibiotic prescribing, arising from the restrictions imposed during 2020 when practices were forced to close and apply a triage-based model of care. The limitations of the so-called triple A approach (advice, antibiotics where appropriate and analgesics) increased the likelihood of inappropriate prescribing because dentists in practices were not able to undertake clinical procedures for many reasons including the availability of appropriate PPE at the time.Urgent care should be prioritised and dentists should be able to assess treatment need on clinical grounds alone and not be influenced by output measures.

Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection said:

“We are pleased that MPs have debated this important issue. Dentists have faced a range of challenges throughout the pandemic, and many have returned to practise in equally demanding circumstances.

“Despite this, dental professionals always put the interests of their patients first, and have remained committed to providing high standards of care throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We have highlighted some specific measures we believe could be taken now to help ensure dental professionals are well supported and are able to continue to provide necessary treatment and care for their patients.

“It is important that government policies and intentions recognise and reflect the immediate needs of patients including the most vulnerable groups, the significant challenges facing dental professional and the need to ensure financial stability to protect the longevity and quality of this essential healthcare service.”

ENDS

  • For press queries contact: E: ione.gyamfi@medicalprotection.org T: +44 (0) 7525 680165.

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

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