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Dental Services: Coronavirus

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN HL4371, tabled on 12 May 2020

To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the planned timescale for non-NHS dentists to return to work with increased personal protection equipment.

Answered on

4 June 2020

National Health Service dentistry was reorganised in late March along with other NHS primary care services to minimise face to face care to contain the spread of COVID-19 during the peak of the pandemic. Dentists were asked to suspend all routine treatment and instead to offer urgent advice and, where required, prescriptions for antibiotics by telephone. Urgent treatment was made available through urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up in each NHS region.

As of 25 May, there are currently over 550 UDCs open across England. Patients are triaged into UDCs by their own dentistry or through NHS 111. The UDCs are expected to provide, where urgently needed, the full range of dental treatment normally available on the NHS.

Information is not yet available on the number of patients receiving NHS dental treatment, the number of patients treated so far in UDCs or the number of FP17s submitted.

The NHS England and NHS Improvement guidance issued from the Chief Dental Officer on 25 March applied directly only to NHS dental care. When providing private care dentists should consider any advice or guidance issued by regulators, the relevant professional body, Chief Professional Officers, or the NHS, as appropriate. All official guidance should be considered in delivery of private or NHS treatment but guidance issued to the NHS is only binding for NHS care.

NHS England and NHS Improvement announced on 28 May that NHS dentistry outside urgent care centres will begin to restart from 8 June with the aim of increasing levels of service as fast as is compatible with maximising safety.