To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with NHS dentists about the possibility of a shortage of facemasks and the impact of any such shortage on patient waiting times.
16 March 2020
The Government launched its COVID-19 action plan on 3 March.
The fundamental objectives set out in the action plan are to deploy phased actions to Contain, Delay, and Mitigate any outbreak, using Research to inform policy development. In reference to the delay phase and the planned potential next steps the plan states below:
“Action that would be considered could include population distancing strategies (such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large scale gatherings) to slow the spread of the disease throughout the population, whilst ensuring the country’s ability to continue to run as normally as possible. The UK government education department’s planning assumptions include the possibility of having to close educational settings in order to reduce the spread of infection.”
The COVID-19 action plan is attached.
The United Kingdom is extremely well prepared for these types of outbreaks, we have central stockpiles of a range of medical products, including face masks, to mitigate supply problems and help ensure the uninterrupted supply to the National Health Service.
We have well-established procedures to deal with supply problems, regardless of the cause, and work closely with industry, the NHS and others in the supply chain to help prevent shortages and to ensure that the risks to patients are minimised including any potential impact on patient waiting times.
There have not been any specific discussions with dentists on this matter.