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Changes to the SOP and guidance from Monday 19 July

By DTA | 19th July 2021 | News

An update from Sara Hurley, Chief Dental Officer England:

'The Prime Minister has confirmed that public restrictions will be significantly eased on 19th July. The Government's 'COVID-19 Response: Summer 2021 ' guidance states:

"Health and care settings will continue to maintain appropriate infection prevention and control processes as necessary and this will be continually reviewed. Guidance will be updated based on the latest clinical evidence this summer."

The current IPC guidance for dentistry is online here  and should continue to be followed in full, for the safety of everyone, while it remains in place. Staff, patients and visitors are expected to continue to follow social distancing rules when visiting any care setting as well as using face coverings, masks and other personal protection equipment.

Going forward, the UKHSA IPC Guidance has been subject to ongoing review throughout the pandemic as the scientific evidence base has developed. This review process takes into account developments such as evidence on transmission, vaccination rates and efficacy, the impact of new variants, and testing regimes. The national guidance is currently being reviewed in relation to these factors in the context of the Government's review of wider changes to social restrictions to ensure appropriate alignment, taking into account specific considerations for the health sector. On behalf of the whole UK, the Scottish Dental Clinical Effectiveness Programme (SDCEP) continues to review the evidence for restrictions in dentistry. The current evidence from SDCEP is online here .

We have also published a number of common sense changes to the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP)  which reflect our ways of working. We are looking at what further changes can be made and when the SOP can be withdrawn. The safety of you and your patients is at the forefront of how we will approach this. We will keep you updated, but for now the amended SOP should continue to be followed.

As the restoration of routine dental care continues with delivery of the full range of treatment options, including aerosol generating procedures, we must ensure no patient in need is left behind. Clinical prioritisation must continue, as detailed in the SOP, and this includes actively reaching out to high needs dental patients and vulnerable groups most at risk of avoidable dental disease.

We have published an 'avoidance of doubt' note on phased courses of treatment  which clarifies where it might be appropriate to provide phased treatment spanning over several courses of treatment (CoT).

I am acutely aware of the amount of practice time and effort directed at managing patient expectations and the hard work of receptionists. Our key message for patients is that dental services are safe and open for face to face care but it is not yet business as usual. We have included draft patient information you can copy and paste from in this bulletin.

For those celebrating Eid ul-Adha next week, I wish you the very best at this special time.'

Read the full NHS dentistry and oral health update.

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