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Covid-19

GOVERNMENT GUIDANCE

Coronavirus rules vary depending on whether you live in England , Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland. You can find the links to the NHS and other government websites across the four nations with the latest guidance and advice on the GDC website.  The government website  has a list of areas with additional local restrictions due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. It's important to check the COVID alert level  of your local area, or places you are planning to visit to see what restrictions apply to you.

If your business is affected by Coronavirus you can watch videos and register for the free webinars to learn more about the support available to help you deal with the economic impacts of coronavirus on the government website .

IT'S NORMAL TO FEEL SAD, STRESSED, CONFUSED, SCARED OR ANGRY

TALKING TO PEOPLE YOU TRUST CAN HELP

Maintain a healthy lifestyle as best you can with a proper diet, adequate sleet and exercise, and social interaction with loved ones at home or online. 

Seek professional help for physical and mental heath needs.

Lessen the time you and your family spend watching or listening to media coverage of news that you find upsetting.

Job Support Scheme

This Job Support Scheme factsheet  explains what is covered by the grant, which employers and employees are eligible, and how to claim.

The Job Support Scheme is designed to protect viable jobs in businesses who are facing lower demand over the winter months due to Covid-19, to help keep their employees attached to the workforce. The scheme will open on 1 November 2020 and run for 6 months.

The company will continue to pay its employee for time worked, but the cost of hours not worked will be split between the employer, the Government (through wage support) and the employee (through a wage reduction), and the employee will keep their job.

The Government will pay a third of hours not worked up to a cap, with the employer also contributing a third. This will ensure employees earn a minimum of 77% of their normal wages, where the Government contribution has not been capped.

Employers using the Job Support Scheme will also be able to claim the Job Retention Bonus if they meet the eligibility criteria.

HELP CALCULATING YOUR EMPLOYEES' WAGES IF YOU'RE CLAIMING THROUGH THE CORONAVIRUS JOB RETENTION SCHEME

The government have released guidance to help you calculate your employees' wages, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions if you're claiming through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Visit their website here.

SAFE WORKING - PPE

Public Health England have released a visual guide to safe PPE  for safe working during COVID-19.

  • Be sure to wash your hands before and after patient contact and after removing some or all of your PPE.
  • Clean all the equipment that you are using according to local policies
  • Use the appropriate PPE for the  situation you are working in (General / AGPs or High risk areas)
  • Take off your PPE safely 
  • Take breaks and hydrate yourself regularly

Read the DTA guide on PPE.  

CORONAVIRUS - KEEP UP TO DATE WITH WORKING AND LIVING SAFELY 

Public Health England have produced a helpful guidance poster which can be downloaded here 

DTA WORK

COVID-19

The DTA are working collectively with the Office of the Chief Dental Officer England, Faculty of Dental Surgeons Royal College of Surgeons England, Faculty of General Dental Practitioners (UK), General Dental Association, British Dental Association and other groups to support the desire to see the reopening of dental practices for face-to-face care in England. The group are actively seeking to achieve this at the earliest safe opportunity. The benefits to patients and the wider community of receiving oral health care from a trusted well regulated and responsible profession are recognised and are intrinsic to the discussions about the graduated expansion of service delivery.

The DTA has also input into the workforce planning discussions for all four nations and in addition had the opportunity to review and input on the a high-level paper describing the phases for Scotland. We are in continued liaisons with other groups and we are raising the concerns of our membership at any opportunity.

Chief dental officer: Latest letter and guidance

Regular updates for dental teams regarding the developing COVID-19 situation are on the NHS website .

Fallow Time Calculator launched by FGDP UK and CGDent

A new free-to-use Fallow Time Calculator has been launched by the Faculty of General Dental Practice (FGDP) UK  to enable you to determine, justify and record the fallow period necessary following dental procedures carrying a higher risk of exposure to potentially-infectious aerosols.

Built by digital consent platform Flynotes, supported by Practice Plan and Wesleyan, and endorsed by the Chief Dental Officer for England, the new tool complements the COVID-19 guidance published by the FGDP UK and the College of General Dentistry (CGDent), the recent update of which incorporates the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) recommendations on fallow time.

The Fallow Time Calculator offers a full audit trail, updated regularly in accordance with the guidelines, which practices can use to aid diary planning, allowing efficient patient treatment flows whilst ensuring necessary fallow periods are implemented. You can register for the Fallow Time Calculator online. 

FALLOW TIME POST AEROSOL GENERATING PROCEDURE (AGP)

Information on the requirement for fallow time post Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP) is detailed in the Chief Dental Officer England letter dated 28/08/2020. 

The fallow period is the 'time necessary for clearance of infectious aerosols after a procedure before decontamination of the surgery can begin' (FGDP, 2020).

Clinicians carry out Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP) during which aerosols large enough to house the COVID-19 causing microorganisms (Sars-Cov-2) and are likely to have travelled to various surfaces in the dental room. Fallow time is required for the aerosols to settle before cleaning can commence.

Currently, dental practices in England are instructed to allow for a 60-minute fallow period following an aerosol generating procedure and before re-entering the room to clean for the next patient.

What does this mean for the dental laboratory? The 60-minute fallow time significantly reduces the number of appointments a clinician can offer to patients, and therefore also reduces the amount of work a dental laboratory will likely receive.

During the online meeting, concerns were raised with the CDO surrounding ways to be economic, the work speeds being adopted and the need for a standard and simple way of calculating how much fallow time is required when using different support systems.

The British Dental Association (BDA) and the British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) have both released statements questioning the length of fallow time imposed. BAPD group are calling for a reduction in the fallow time to 30 minutes for AGPs and no time for non-AGPs.

DTA 

PRESS RELEASE: URGING ALL DENTAL PROFESSIONALS TO SUPPORT UK DENTAL TECHNOLOGISTS

The DTA has issued a press release urging all dental professionals and communities to support their local, UK Dental Technologists. The statement has been distributed to the Chief Dental officers of the four nations, the General Dental Council (GDC), British Dental Association (BDA), dental groups, associations and other stakeholders, voicing growing concerns amongst our membership and the key issues facing dental technology.

Due to a lack of government support we fear that the UK will lose many highly skilled dental technologists, the supply chain to the dental clinic will be greatly affected and, inevitably, patients will suffer from long delays in receiving their custom-made dental appliance. We hope to gain support for our profession before it's too late.

PRESS RELEASE: Where will you get your denture, crowns and braces from?

With the shutdown of dentistry during the COVID-19 pandemic and the slow, phased stages to the resumption of normal services offered to the public by dentists, dental technicians (also known as dental technologists) who create all the dentures, crowns, bridges and braces for individual patients via dentists, are currently in an extremely difficult situation.

Having dedicated their lives to their career, these key workers in dentistry would normally be producing the various dental appliances needed by patients. However, currently and for the foreseeable future there will likely be insufficient prescribed work coming through to sustain these highly specialised dental team workers due to the restrictions in place on the number of appointments and types of services dentists are able to offer to the public.

Dental technologists are the oral healthcare unsung heroes. They study for years to be able to develop the knowledge and skills required to create precise, custom-made dental appliances. Their work requires a high level of manual dexterity and attention to detail and an application of applied aesthetic values. Each patient is unique and no two pieces are the same, therefore much of the work is carefully done by hand to fine-tune each piece to the exact specification to make sure the device is comfortable and effective for the patient prior to the final fitting with the dentist. Dental technologists work with specialised equipment in the dental laboratory, use a wide range of materials and have knowledge about the properties and application of each of these materials in order to design and construct appliances to the prescription and with absolute precision.

Whilst the dentists are being supported via the NHS, the country is likely to lose many of its professional dental technologists due to the lack of government support for these essential members of the dental team. Unless something radical is done before the next wave of COVID-19 or by the time the government funding schemes are phased out, there will be insufficient dental technologists within the dental care team to provide the appliances that patients require and the health of the population will likely suffer greatly.

Ends

Please share help us to raise awareness of these issues.

DTA DENTAL LABORATORY CRISIS MANAGEMENT PACK

Coronavirus is having a significant impact on dental laboratories, and in addition to the immediate advice on how to safeguard your business, the DTA has produced a Dental Laboratory Crisis Management Pack to help you prepare your business to operate once again when it is safe to do so. These documents should form part of your regular business documentation and they might already be in place; however, they will need to be reviewed and updated before you reopen. It's important to review and update them on a regular basis. The pack can be utilised for any crisis impacting your business in the future, not just coronavirus. The pack includes:

  • DTA Dental Laboratory Crisis Management Pack
  • DTA SOP Template
  • DTA Risk Assessment Sample Template

Two more templates have been added to the Dental Laboratory Crisis Management Pack to assist with new employee inductions and staff training in preparation for returning to work.

  • Staff Training Record
  • Employee Induction Checklist

Download the DTA Dental Laboratory Crisis Management Pack in the members' area. 

Working safely during Coronavirus

The government has issued main 5 steps to working safely during coronavirus. The first point on the list is to carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment. Use the DTA Dental Laboratory Crisis Management Pack which you can download from the members area  and includes risk assessment information, a template and other documents to assist with the preparation for reopening the laboratory and safe working.

1. Carry out a COVID-19 risk assessment

Before restarting work you should ensure the safety of the workplace by:

carrying out a risk assessment in line with the HSE guidanceconsulting with your workers or trade unionssharing the results of the risk assessment with your workforce and on your website

2. Develop cleaning, handwashing and hygiene procedures

You should increase the frequency of handwashing and surface cleaning by:

  • encouraging people to follow the guidance on hand washing and hygiene
  • providing hand sanitiser around the workplace, in addition to washrooms
  • frequently cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces that are touched regularly
  • enhancing cleaning for busy areas
  • setting clear use and cleaning guidance for toilets
  • providing hand drying facilities - either paper towels or electrical dryers

3. Help people to work from home

You should take all reasonable steps to help people work from home by:

  • discussing home working arrangements
  • ensuring they have the right equipment, for example remote access to work systems
  • including them in all necessary communications
  • looking after their physical and mental wellbeing

4. Maintain 2m social distancing, where possible

Where possible, you should maintain 2m between people by:

  • putting up signs to remind workers and visitors of social distancing guidance
  • avoiding sharing workstations
  • using floor tape or paint to mark areas to help people keep to a 2m distance
  • arranging one-way traffic through the workplace if possible
  • switching to seeing visitors by appointment only if possible

5. Where people cannot be 2m apart, manage transmission risk

Where it's not possible for people to be 2m apart, you should do everything practical to manage the transmission risk by:

  • considering whether an activity needs to continue for the business to operate
  • keeping the activity time involved as short as possible
  • using screens or barriers to separate people from each other
  • using back-to-back or side-to-side working whenever possible
  • staggering arrival and departure times
  • reducing the number of people each person has contact with by using 'fixed teams or partnering'

To help with the above use the DTA Dental Laboratory Crisis Management Pack 

Self-care during covid-19

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the nation-wide lockdown has created many challenges, whether it be your own health or that of a family member, financial worries, loss of employment or loneliness, they all have a huge impact on our mental health. It's important to recognise and raise awareness of the many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during this extraordinary situation.

Information overload? Make sure you 'switch off' from time to time and limit the time you spend on social media otherwise you can feel overwhelmed. Keep up-to-date using only factual information from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Government websites.

Keep connected. Being separated from family and friends can have a huge impact on your mental health. There are so many ways for us all to keep in contact now, especially via video calling, so make time to keep in touch with others. Consider those around you who may not have access to such technology.

Exercise and fresh air. Regular exercise can have a profoundly positive impact on mental health and boosts your overall mood. It also relieves stress, improves memory and helps you sleep better. Make time for daily exercise outdoors if possible.

If you are preparing to get back to work, as an employer or an employee, it is important that you consider your own mental health and raise awareness of the importance of self-care to all your employees/colleagues. See below some useful steps for everyone to consider.

1. Employers need to be aware that some employees might feel very anxious about coming back to work and there are things that can be done to help manage the return to work process and reduce stress levels, such as:

a. complete risk assessments, update standard operating procedures and share these with all employees so that they can input and understand new ways of working for the safety of all.

b. consider using some of these posters to create a staff wellbeing board and point to useful resources for mental health such as these helplines on the NHS website.

2. Employees should provide constructive and practical feedback on the new standard operating procedures and discuss any concerns with their employer.

3. Follow hygiene measures advised by authorities. Hand washing, catching sneezes and coughs, and not touching your face are still a key strand in preventing the virus spreading.

4. Consider changing the method of transport you use to get to and from work, or the times you travel to avoid peak travel times. Employers could consider staggered start/finish times and flexible hours of working to allow employees to travel safely and observe social distancing guidelines.

5. The virus is likely to be a hot topic of conversation at work. Try to minimise gossip and hearsay about both the news and personal stories as this can cause anxiety.

If you need support during this difficult time, we would like to remind all our members that you have access to a counselling helpline as part of your membership benefits.

holiday entitlement during covid-19

The return to work raises many more questions, not least surrounding your holiday entitlement. The government provide a detailed explanation and guidance on their website but here are some important things to note:

  • Workers who have been placed on furlough continue to accrue statutory holiday entitlements, and any additional holiday provided for under their employment contract.
  • Where a bank holiday falls inside a worker's period of furlough and the worker would have usually have had the bank holiday as annual leave, the employer and the worker must agree to either take the bank holiday as annual leave while on furlough with full pay or, to defer the bank holiday to a later date.
  • Employers can require workers to take holiday, however, advanced notice periods are required and full pay must be received during the holiday period. Employers can continue to claim the 80% grant from the government to cover most of the cost of holiday pay.

Find out more on GOV.UK website England, Scotland & Wales  or visit here for Northern Ireland.

Cyber security: working from home

If you're working from home, it's important to protect your devices to ensure all personal information is secure. Read DTA article How cyber aware is your business? which highlights security measures to reduce the risk of a cyber attack and tips on how to secure your devices and data from malware and phishing attacks.The Federal Trade Commission offer these tips for protecting your devices and personal information, click read more.

Start with cybersecurity basics . Keep your security software up to date. Use passwords on all your devices and apps. Make sure the passwords are long, strong and unique: at least 12 characters that are a mix of numbers, symbols and capital and lowercase letters.

Secure your home network. Start with your router. Turn on encryption (WPA2 or WPA3). Encryption scrambles information sent over your network so outsiders can't read it. WPA2 and WPA3 are the most up-to-date encryption standards to protect information sent over a wireless network. No WPA3 or WPA2 options on your router? Try updating your router software, then check again to see if WPA2 or WPA3 are available. If not, consider replacing your router. For more guidance, read Securing Your Wireless Network  and Secure Remote Access .

Keep an eye on your laptop. If you're using a laptop, make sure it is password-protected, locked and secure. Never leave it unattended - like in a vehicle or at a public charging station.

Securely store sensitive files. When there's a legitimate business need to transfer confidential information from office to home, keep it out of sight and under lock and key. If you don't have a file cabinet at home, use a locked room. For more tips, read about physical security. 

Dispose of sensitive data securely. Don't just throw it in the trash or recycling bin. Shred it. Paperwork you no longer need can be treasure to identity thieves if it includes personal information about customers or employees.

Follow your employer's security practices. Your home is now an extension of your office. So, follow the protocols that your employer has implemented.

Read small business cybersecurity  materials and online security  articles.

by Lisa Weintraub Schifferle

Attorney, FTC, Division of Consumer & Business Education

Published March 18, 2020 

scam warning

The government are warning the public to be extra vigilant and be wary of scams related to coronavirus. They state that you can only access government schemes through the GOV.UK website. If someone texts, calls or emails claiming to be from HMRC, saying that you can claim financial help or are owed a tax refund, and asks you to click on a link or to give information such as your name, credit card or bank details, it is a scam. 

DTA Statement in support of track and trace

Taking account of the tightening of restrictions in the United Kingdom to help tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, it is imperative that you do all in your power to keep yourself, your team and your clients safe. Many of your clients may come from the most vulnerable groups. The UK test, track and trace system is a way to quickly get in touch with individuals who may have been in close contact with somebody who is infected. For this reason, it is important that your clients or patients agree that you can pass their contact details to the test and trace workers should you become infected at any point within a couple of days of having provided them with a service. Therefore, we are urging you all to produce a small leaflet with the following wording that you ask ALL your clients or patients to sign: 

DTA Statement in support of track and trace 

( NB this has been modified for dental laboratory and CDT use by the DTA)

SECURITY CONSIDERATIONS IN AN ECONOMICALLY CHALLENGING TIME

CPNI, Centre for the Protection of National Infrastucture, have published Security Considerations in an Economically Challenging Time  to help businesses to protect assets and information. CPNI is the government authority for protective security advice to the UK national infrastructure.

Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Flexible Furloughing

The government are running free webinars to provide information and guidance if your business is affected by coronavirus (COVID-19). Here are some useful resources from the Extension to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and Flexible Furloughing webinar:

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Contributions 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Extensions 

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Key Dates 

Register for a webinar on the government website .

SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES

The government has set out its plan to return life to as near normal as possible, but in a way that is safe and continues to protect our NHS. The message is to stay alert, control the virus, and, in doing so, save lives.

This guidance applies in England  - people in Scotland , Wales  and Northern Ireland  should follow the specific rules in those parts of the UK.