Variety of UK guidance could lead to ‘cross-border dental tourism’, say BAPD

The British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) has spoken out following the announcement that dental teams can return to work next weekThe British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) has spoken out following the news that dental teams can return to work.

Last Thursday, the CDO for England, Sara Hurley, announced dental practices can resume work from Monday 8 June 2020.

In a letter to Matt Hancock, the BAPD expressed ‘extreme dissatisfaction’ with the handling of UK dentistry in the face of COVID-19 ‘with particular reference to England’.

This follows a survey that found of the 1,600 members who responded, 97.5% had no confidence in the ‘current structure, remit and functioning’ of the OCDO.

Damage economies and reputations

The concerns highlighted in the letter include the manner by which information was delivered to the profession.

Additionally, it points out that many dental professionals were informed at the same time as the public as well as the difference in ‘back to work’ guidance among the devolved nations.

Unlike England, Wales and Scotland are not set to return on 8 June. The organisation voiced fears this could lead to ‘cross-border dental tourism’ as suffering patients flock to neighbouring England for treatment.

It also worries it could damage economies and dentists’ reputations, widen health inequalities and overwhelm dental services in England.

Additionally, it stated there are access concerns regarding adequate and necessary PPE.

No time to prepare

As a result, it called for four points of actions:

  1. It stands by its recent vote of no confidence in the OCDO, asking for an immediate investigation into its functioning
  2. A policy of clear, concise and consistent guidance is clearly warranted alongside a thorough review of OCDO policies. In particular, it points to those relating to communication
  3. A review of the relationship between the OCDO, the GDC, the CQC, dental indemnity companies and the entire profession. This includes private dentistry
  4. A public inquiry into the management of dental services ‘and the resultant ongoing dental health crisis during COVID-19’.

‘There has been no engagement of the primary dental care sector in the planning, timing and distribution of this letter,’ the BAPD states.

‘The dental profession sees this as an attempt by OCDO to devolve their own incompetence at the door of the wet-fingered dentist. Dentists were simply given no time to prepare.’

You can read the full letter here.


Find out more about Dentistry’s Back to Practice campaign. 

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