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BDA: additional financial support and clear communication needed for phased reopening of Scottish dental practices


  Posted by: The Probe      16th July 2020

The British Dental Association has said the Scottish Government now has a responsibility to manage patient expectations, following confirmation from the First Minister that dental practices were able to offer routine care using non-aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) from 13 July. 

Practices are still only provide a limited range of treatments and will not be carrying out routine examinations. The BDA has stressed the need for clear and consistent communication from the Scottish Government and NHS Boards.

Dentists’ costs have increased as practices began reopening last month. The Scottish Government has announced additional funding for the latest phase of reopening – a 30% increase in General Dental Practice Allowance. While this funding is welcome, it is insufficient to restore practice income to pre-Covid levels and could see some practices struggle to remain viable. The BDA has stressed the need for additional funding, given the financial pressures facing mixed NHS-private practices with a high percentage of private income.

The Scottish Government has also issued a revised Statement of Dental Remuneration (SDR) for the next phase of reopening. The BDA welcomed the inclusion of triage activity in the SDR but has concerns about other aspects, such as the lack of funding for lab bills and the reduced level of care that GDPs are able to provide when routine examinations restart in phase 3. 

David McColl, Chair of the Scottish Dental Practice Committee, said: “The Scottish Government has a responsibility to manage patient expectations. Yes, we are moving to the next phase of reopening, but very little will change in terms of the treatments we can offer to our patients. Routine dentistry has not returned, and this fact needs to be clearly communicated. Dentists now face a vast backlog of dental treatment, and it will be some time before we return to anything resembling ‘business as usual’.

“Ministers now need to provide appropriate financial support to ensure the sustainability of NHS dentistry. We need the Government to engage more regularly and effectively with the profession and the public as we continue to navigate our way through these difficult times.”

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