Statement on how we regulate and supplementary guidance
In January we made a joint statement with professional health and social care regulators about how we have, and will continue to, regulate in light of COVID-19. The joint statement repeated our commitment to take relevant environmental and human factors into account in fitness to practise cases.
With the aim of providing further reassurance to dental professionals, we also published supplementary advice that has been given to our case examiners, providing a lasting point of reference about the factors they should take into account, when considering the impact of COVID-19 on a professional’s ability to deliver care.
Webinar 23 February: The impact of COVID-19 on dentistry
Our next live online event is being held from 5pm-7pm on Tuesday 23 February 2021. Please save the date, time and the link to join below to your calendar now to remind you of this event.
Confirmed contributors include Jason Wong, Deputy Chief Dental Officer (England), Paul Cushley, Dental Director, NHS National Services Scotland, Vicki Jones, Chair, Welsh Dental Committee, and Diane Rochford, President, British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy.
Panel members and the lead researchers from Community Research and Ecorys will be answering your questions and discussing the emerging themes from our research on COVID-19:
- Access to dentistry and working to address health inequalities.
- Support needed to address financial and workforce pressures.
- Bridging the road to recovery.
If you have a question or comment on any of these themes, please submit it in advance of the event by visiting our website and completing the form.
Recruitment now open for GDC Chair and Council Member
Recruitment for a new GDC Chair and Council member is now underway.
We are seeking applications from both dental professionals and non-professionals, with the relevant skills and experience for these roles. Further information about the roles can be found online, and the closing date for applications is 12pm Monday 22 February.
Council member and dental technician, Caroline Logan also reflects on what inspired her to join the Council, and why she would encourage others to consider applying for the roles.
New wellbeing support guidance for the dental team
New guidance to support the wellbeing of dental teams across the UK is now available online. This comprehensive signposting resource has been created through a collaboration of dental professionals and relevant stakeholders, with funding from the BDA Benevolent Fund and the Dentists’ Health Support Trust. You will find it on the Wellbeing Support for Dental Teams website.
Just a few weeks left to volunteer for UK-REACH COVID-19 study
We would like to encourage more of you to volunteer for the United Kingdom Research Study into Ethnicity and COVID-19 Outcomes in Healthcare Workers (UK-REACH). This is a large and important study that could help to protect the health of everyone in the dental team.
The roll out of the vaccination programme is going well and there is good news on its effectiveness. But this crisis is a long way from over, and our need to understand the disparities in COVID-19 outcomes across different groups remains vital.
If you have not yet joined the study, we would be grateful if you would please take the time to review the details and consider taking part. We need people of all ethnicities to get involved, and being vaccinated will not preclude you from participating.
Dentists on the Register following annual renewal
Now that the annual renewal period for dentists has closed, we can report that the number of dentists on the Register has remained broadly in line with previous years and remains stable. The exact figures and the comparative figures for previous years can be found on our website.
COVID-19 pandemic severely felt by dental technicians
We have all been affected by the pandemic in some way, but not all in the same way or to the same degree. Our recent research has exposed the severity of the impacts on dental technicians and clinical dental technicians, and their need for support.
Reduced patient numbers and subsequent decline in referrals to laboratories are resulting in major financial challenges for the sector. As one laboratory owner explained:
“because NHS dentists are treating far fewer patients, the NHS work coming to us has declined massively to about 10% of pre-COVID.”
Almost 98% of laboratory owners reported a reduction in current income, with the largest decreases reported by those predominantly receiving NHS referrals, recording a mean decrease of 73%. Restrictions on AGPs are amplifying these effects and concerns are growing.
There is a consensus that the industry faces a major crisis and there are concerns around business viability and future redundancies. Many now feel that urgent attention and financial support is needed if the sector is to survive the impact of the pandemic. Further details on these and other findings from our research can be found on our website.
GDC consultation on revised Preliminary Meeting guidance opened
We are seeking comments on revisions to our guidance on the constitution and conduct of Preliminary Meetings, convened as part of the Fitness to Practise process. Changes to the guidance will affect those who are subject to fitness to practise procedures, particularly in cases where the investigation has resulted in a referral to a substantive hearing.
Further details, alongside the draft guidance and associated regulatory impact assessment can be found on our website. This consultation is open until 21 February.
Professional Standards Authority performance review of the GDC
The Professional Standards Authority published its report on GDC performance for the period 2019/20 on 19 January. You can find further details of our performance against the Authority’s 18 Standards of Good Regulation, and our response, on our website.
COVID-19 vaccination programme in Scotland
We have been asked to share details of how dental professionals can get involved in the COVID-19 vaccination programme by the Scottish Government. Please find below:
For individuals who are interested in becoming vaccinators, including those with prior experience, such as retired clinicians, roles are being advertised on the NHS Scotland Recruitment website. Recruitment will be ongoing over the coming months, so please check for regular updates.
The core training to become a vaccinator can be found on the NES website.
For those in primary care, national terms and conditions have been negotiated to enable independent contractors to participate in vaccination delivery, on a sessional basis, on behalf of a NHS Scotland Board. Please contact the NHS Board in your practice area to explore these opportunities.
Volunteering in a non-clinical capacity is being coordinated by the British Red Cross. Offers to volunteer on this basis should be emailed to: COVID_19ResponseScotland@redcross.org.uk.at
The information above can also be found on the Scottish Government website.
All other offers, such as premises, should be sent to: email@example.com.