GDC registrants do not have to self-isolate, BDA says

Last week, the foreign office ordered those returning to the UK from Spain to self-isolate – but do travel policies apply to dental professionals?Last week, the foreign office ordered those returning to England from Spain to self-isolate for two weeks. But do quarantine rules apply to dental professionals?

Following a spike in the number of COVID-19 cases in Spain, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asked all returning travellers to quarantine for 14 days.

Spain is not the only country that requires returning travellers to quarantine. As travel restrictions began to ease, the UK government published a list of countries and territories with no requirement for self isolation on arrival to England.

Currently, registered health or care professionals travelling to the UK to provide ‘essential healthcare’ do not need to self-isolate for 14 days. This applies to those staying in England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

This includes employees carrying out care unrelated to COVID-19.

Quarantine requirements

According to advice from the British Dental Association (BDA), if an employee is a General Dental Council (GDC) registrant, they will not need to self-isolate.

They will, however, need to complete a Public Health Passenger Locator Form before they return. The information is used to contact the individual if a passenger on their flight, train or ship tests positive for COVID-19.

On the other hand, non-GDC registrants – for example, managers and receptionists – need to self-isolate for 14 days.

Additionally, statutory sick pay (SSP) is unavailable for anybody self-isolating after returning from holiday.

Face mask clarifications

This comes as all dental staff in primary care environments are told they must wear face masks – but only if the practice is not COVID-19 secure.

Last week, Public Health England (PHE) clarified its position for healthcare providers in primary care settings.

A COVID-secure environment includes:

  • Social distancing
  • Hand hygiene
  • Frequent decontamination of services
  • Ventilation
  • Other measures where appropriate.

If the above is not possible, staff, patients and members of the public need to wear face masks.

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