Government temporarily suspends need for patient signatures on dental forms

Patients will no longer have to sign dental forms in a new move to help reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19Patients will no longer have to sign dental forms in a new move to help reduce the transmission rate of COVID-19.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care approved the temporary measure this week. It will suspend the need for patients to provide their signature on prescription, dental and ophthalmic forms.

It will last for a five-month period, ending on 31 March 2021.

Where patients attend NHS dental services, contractors should complete any parts of the practice record form (PR) or treatment plan (FP17DC and FP17DCO) that would usually be completed by the patient.

Possible extension

However, patients will still be required to pay the relevant charge or prove their eligibility for an exemption from charges.

If eligible, contractors should mark this on the form on behalf of the patient.

Additionally, where patients would usually sign the form, contractors should annotate it with ‘COVID-19‘.

‘A temporary suspension of these signatures is now in force. It will last initially until 31 March 2021,’ the new guidance states.

‘This will, however, be kept under review and may be extended, if there continues to be a cross infection risk, or removed, as soon as it is deemed safe for patients to resume signing forms.’

Dental services to stay open

This comes as the chief dental officer for England, Sara Hurley, speaks out following the announcement of a second lockdown.

She confirmed dental services will remain open to treat patients over the next four weeks.

Dental practices should undertake procedures in line with the latest standard operating procedure (SOP). Additionally, they should adhere to recently-updated infection prevention control guidance.

Dr Hurley will host a webinar on the recent infection prevention control guidelines this Thursday at 16:30. She will be joined by representatives from Public Health England (PHE) as well as deputy chief dental officers Eric Rooney and Jason Wong.

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