England’s CDO Sara Hurley speaks out to dental profession

The chief dental officer for England, Sara Hurley, has updated the profession on financial arrangements and PPE in the face of COVID-19The chief dental officer for England, Sara Hurley, has updated the profession on financial arrangements and PPE in the face of COVID-19.

In her fifth letter of preparedness since the start of the pandemic, the CDO has spoken out about what is next for the profession.

‘The potential for localised and regional resurgence of COVID-19 will endure,’ the letter states.

‘To this end, regions will retain their urgent dental care capability. Practices should be prepared to comply with any localised public health measures and restrictions.

‘Regional directors and public health leads will provide the necessary direction and practices are reminded to remain connected with their regional teams.’

Contractual arrangements

From the period 1 April to 7 June 2020, it has been agreed with the British Dental Association (BDA) that a 16.75% abatement will be applied to this contract value. This follows the recognition that consumable (laboratory and materials) and other costs in practices will be lower during this period.

For practices operating as urgent dental care centres (UDCs), they will receive no abatement. However, for any time period where it was not operating as a UDC, they will have the 16.75% abatement applied.

From 8 June onwards, all practices received the green light to reopen for face-to-face care. The letter states: ‘From 20 July 2020 we expect that all practices should have been able to mobilise for face-to-face interventions.’

Additionally, Sara Hurley is currently working with the BDA to establish an appropriate method for the measurement of activity, patient outcomes and quality of care provision.

Temporary provision

However, in advance of this agreement, the following has been proposed:

  • From 8 June we have moved to a 0% abatement for all contracts
  • For UDC practices, this will automatically apply from 8 June
  • However, for non UDC practices, this is conditional on specific assurance that they are open for face-to-face interventions. They must also adhere to contractual hours with reasonable staffing levels for NHS services in place. And they must perform the highest possible levels of activity. There should be no undue priority being given to private activity over NHS activity
  • As a result, practices failing to deliver at least 20% of usual volumes of patient care activity will be deemed non-compliant with the above criteria.

The above is a ‘temporary holding arrangement’, aimed at recognising reduced variable costs that are offset by additional PPE prices.

PPE and fit testing

Additionally, plans are in place to train fit testers within the profession across NHS regions.

The OCDO is arranging an honorary agreement for fit testers, which will cover any liabilities arising through the agreement.

You can read the full letter here.

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