To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the level of personal protective equipment used in dental practices for the safety of (a) dentists and (b) patients.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
7 July 2020
Most high street dentists purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) via dental wholesalers which supply a range of equipment needed by dentists including PPE. During the COVID-19 pandemic the Government is working closely with industry, the National Health Service, social care providers and the army to ensure that PPE is delivered to those who need it. Our priority is ensuring the safety of patients and all health care workers, including dentists. This includes supporting dental wholesalers to stock the equipment needed by general dental practice to safely support practices to restart face to face dental care.
Public Health England provides guidance on infection prevention and control (IPC) for COVID-19 which covers both the PPE to be used by sector and the enhanced PPE that is needed for particular procedures such as those that are aerosol generating.
The latest IPC guidance can be viewed at the following link:
NHS England and NHS Improvement issued additionally detailed standard operating procedure earlier this month setting out detailed guidance on how dentists can restart face to face dentistry safely.
NHS England and NHS Improvement dental guidance is available at the following link:
Dentists are responsible for ensuring that they follow safe clinical practice taking into account available official guidance.
As independent contractors, dentists are currently required to fund PPE and other expenses from their overall contract value. In the short term PPE costs should not be a barrier to restarting NHS dentistry. NHS dentists have been, since practice based face to face care was suspended at the end of March, nevertheless been receiving their usual funding in full and this is continuing during the restart period. NHS England and NHS Improvement are considering with representatives of the profession the approach to overall remuneration for the remainder of 2020/21.