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a blog by Chris Barrow

Confusion - are private dentists being duped?

This morning I've already had a number of screenshots sent to me of the Government's guidance on those businesses excepted from the continued closure of businesses.

To add to the confusion, with permission I also reproduce below an extract from an email sent to a dentist yesterday:

Dear XXX, Having read the government's new document published today, the guidance looks clear that all businesses not only can but should be open, unless they are specified in the list of businesses to remain closed.   I am pasting in the link to the new guidance at the end of this email. Please scroll to page 25 to see the Work section.    Footnote number 22 at the bottom of page 25 is a link to the list of businesses that are to remain closed.  Dentistry is not on the list. Sarah has written to ask for further updates since her last letter from the health department, and we will let you know what the response is to that letter.   In the meantime, I would suggest going to your insurance provider and quoting the new guidance.  I was disappointed not to have this issue referenced specifically in the new guidance, but the document is clear that all businesses that are not specifically prohibited should resume operations from Wednesday.    I hope to have an official response soon. Yours,. Ellen Purton Constituency Office of Sarah Olney Member of Parliament for Richmond Park

Those who saw Monday's Daily Briefing with Martin Woodrow, CEO of The British Dental Association will know that Martin was calm and clear in stating the BDA's understanding that instructions to private dentistry to "stay at home" were still intact, pending further clarification from NHSE.

Here's another email this morning:

Hi Chris,

I am writing further to our correspondence today. There is a concern that more and more UDCs are opening, some of them in General Dental Practices around England. At present there are apparently 400 UDC in England with numbers going up. There is a concern in the private dental community that we will be left behind as most NHS GDPs reopen as UDCs and we remain closed.

Is this a genuine concern? Can we do something about this to prompt the Department of Health to allow private clinics to also run UDCs?

I would really appreciate your help and expertise on this matter.

I've tried to keep as connected to this debate as possible but, this morning, I'm going to admit to being confused.

Is there a point at which private dentists contact their indemnifiers either singly or collectively and do quote the instructions from HM Govt before requesting cover to open their doors?

My own Buying Group are expecting to have adequate PPE in the next 2/3 weeks and I'm going to push for more clarification today as to where the boundaries actually stand.

We have heard on more than one of my Daily Briefings that the ultimate arbiter of whether a private UDC opens is the clinician who follows guidelines and convinces their indemnifier.

The pressure mounts and, in the meantime, some private UDCs are open. The example that follows is not one of my clients but has been pointed out to me:

Somebody has already blown the whistle to the CQC on this business but all that has changed is the wording of their pop-up (albeit it needs a spell check). I am in no way criticising here - repeatedly, I've been told by the great and the good that if private dentists want to become UDCs and provided they follow the guidelines, get the gear and get the cover, they are good to go.

They are not the only example I'm aware of. I appreciate the concerns around safety of teams and patients, around the supply of PPE and around all aspects of compliance.

Is private dentistry being duped?

p.s. Here's a quote from one of my clients that did at least put a smile on my face in these uncertain times:

Ok, I think I have this summarised, we can’t open to see patients for routine dental operations as most of them are AGP, which spreads the virus except there is no evidence to prove that.

But we can open because the Government said that we are exempt, so patients now expect us to be open, but that might not mean we can open because the Government maybe referring to the UDC’s being open when it says dentist are exempt from being closed.

Even if we could open, we don’t have the PPE to operate safely, so we can’t open, except we don’t know what PPE we need so we might not need the PPE so we could open.

We could get air filtration which kills the virus and makes us safe but there is no evidence to prove that except for the evidence that proves it.

On the other hand we can’t open because the GDC, CDO, CQC and probably the BBC say that we shouldn’t open, except the CQC CDO and the GDC don’t speak for the private dentist so they could open, except that can’t open because they can't afford to pay the staff if they do open.

I really don’t know what the confusion is simples. 😀

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