NHS England dental practices told to assess vulnerable staff within four weeks
Dental practices, hospitals and other NHS employers have been told to finish the assessments for at-risk staff within four weeks by NHS England.
This month, local NHS employers have been asked to carry out risk assessments on all staff classed as vulnerable.
This came as part of a Public Health England (PHE) seven-point plan on how to better protect black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities from the impact of COVID-19. Statistics show they are disproportionately represented in the number of deaths relating to the virus.
Four week deadline
According to an ITV report, in a letter employers were ordered to make ‘significant progress’ in the completion of risk assessments within the next two weeks. All staff in at-risk groups should have their assessments finished within four weeks.
It is also asking employers to publish the statistics.
Recent statistics have highlighted that BAME groups have been particularly affected by COVID-19. Death rates have been higher among people of black and Asian origin, a PHE inquiry revealed.
When taking into consideration sex, age, deprivation and region, those of Bangladeshi ethnicity had around twice the risk of death in comparison to those who were white British.
And those of Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, other Asian, Caribbean and other black ethnicities had between 10% to 50% higher risk of death.
‘Hardest week so far’
Based in Manchester, three of his practices have restarted non-AGP treatments since dental teams were told they could resume face-to-face care. The fourth, however, is continuing to operate as an urgent dental care centre (UDC).
He said managing the expectations of patients has been the biggest challenge.
‘The week after the 8 June was the hardest we’ve had during the entire lockdown period,’ he said.
‘Following that date, the first three or four days was just about managing phone calls. We were telling patients that the whole process will be a transition, rather than back to normal like pre-COVID.
‘Quite a few have questioned why they’ve seen people walking into our practice. When we’ve explained that we are a UDC and also seeing non-AGP emergencies, most patients are accepting of the situation. However, some still don’t fully understand the high risk involved.’
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