To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of whether the length of the notice given to dentists in respect of reopening on 8 June 2020 was sufficient to enable them to procure personal protective equipment in order to prevent the spread of covid-19.
8 July 2020
NHS England and NHS Improvement as the commissioner of National Health Service dental services decided the notice period for the gradual resumption of face to face care by dental practices holding an NHS contract. The letter announcing this set out that the resumption should be gradual with practices increasing services only at a pace compatible with maximising safety.
Dentists continue to receive full NHS funding with, during the restart period, no targets for numbers of treatments delivered or patients seen. This is to ensure there is no pressure to restart in a way that could conflict with safety. At the height of the pandemic NHS England and NHS Improvement set up urgent dental care centres (UDCs) to provide clinically necessary urgent treatment to patients. Over 600 UDCs remain open during the restart period to ensure patients can access urgent care and no additional pressure is put on the pace of the practice restart.
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.