What does a second lockdown mean for dentistry?

On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a second lockdown and new national measures to clamp down on the surge in COVID-19 casesOn Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a number of new national measures to clamp down on the surge in COVID-19 cases.

The second lockdown will come into force from Thursday (5 November) where non-essential shops, pubs, gyms and restaurants will all close for four weeks.

Additionally, the public are being ordered to stay at home. As a result, they should only leave for education, work purposes (where you cannot work from home), exercise and shopping for essential items.

The Prime Minister says he expects restrictions to last until 2 December. Yesterday, the UK recorded 23,254 confirmed cases of the virus.

‘Vital’ services remain open

But what does this mean for dentistry?

Current guidelines for the new national restrictions are vague but suggest that dental practices will remain open throughout November.

It reads: ‘A number of public services will also stay open. You will be able to leave home to visit them. These include: the NHS and medical services like GPs.

‘We are supporting the NHS to safely carry out urgent and non-urgent services. It is vital anyone who thinks they need any kind of medical care comes forward and seeks help.’

The Conservative Dentists group says Jo Churchill – the parliamentary under secretary of state for prevention, public health and primary care – confirmed dentistry will remain open during the second lockdown.

Urgent clarification

‘All health and social care provision (defined as activity registered with the CQC, or other healthcare regulator eg General Optical Council, General Dental Council) will continue,’ the Conservative Dentists group reports.

‘This will include all aspects of primary care, including dentistry and opticians.’

Additionally, the British Dental Association state it is seeking ‘urgent clarification’ regarding the position of dental services.

It writes: ‘Based on the government guidance so far published, our interpretation is that dental practices will continue to operate as at present.

‘The guidance says that individuals can be outside of their homes for specific purposes, which include “for any medical concerns, reasons, appointments and emergencies”.’

However, further information and clarification is likely to become available over the next few days.

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