The Dental Laboratories Association has launched its new campaign to help support the plight of dental labs across the UK following the Covid-19 lockdown.
Steven Campbell, DLA President, commented: “The DLA are witnessing severe hardship for many members of the dental technology community, and we believe there is a very real possibility that some dental labs which dental practices depend upon will not be there once the lockdown is over unless the dental community comes together.”
The message from the DLA is clear: they believe that if all dental practices settle their outstanding invoices from their dental labs as a matter of urgency, then many more labs will survive this crisis. The DLA are reporting that as many as 75% of their dental lab members have outstanding debts of over 45 days from well before the Covid-19 outbreak started to impact the dental profession.
In a bid to not only help dental labs see their outstanding invoices settled for work carried out prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, as part of their ‘Save Labs, Buy British’ campaign, the DLA are trying to appeal to the better nature of NHS dental practice principles who are still receiving their NHS contract value. Starting from May and continuing each month until the lockdown is over, the DLA are asking NHS dental practices to ‘forward pay’ their average dental lab invoice to their dental lab in advance and create a credit account for when the lockdown ends. The DLA believe that these two actions could potentially save 80% of those labs that fear their doors will be closed permanently should their current financial circumstances continue.
More than 10,000 dental practices will have received a letter from the DLA President asking them to ‘Save Labs, Buy British’. In the letter, the DLA encourage dental practices to embrace this campaign and use it to their advantage, citing that there will likely be a change in mood for imported goods in the UK, as well as an increased public resolve to see UK businesses backing each other to help grow the economy and save jobs both locally and nationally.
Back in 2012, the DLA launched the British Bite Mark (BBM), which was widely supported by political figures of all parties. The DLA were keen to point out that the BBM was much more about stopping imports and highlighting the risks dental practices face if they don’t carry out sufficient compliance checks, particularly now dentistry falls under the CQC. In comparison, the Save Labs, Buy British campaign is much more about remembering your UK lab supplier, nurturing the relationship, and saving the dental technology profession in the UK.
When concluding the virtual launch of the campaign, Steven Campbell stated that “the support from the CDO’s in all regions has been appalling for dental labs; whilst during Covid-19 dental technicians are recognised as key workers and dental team members, for all other considerations we are excluded. The same can equally be said about the GDC – they are failing to acknowledge the stress their registration
fee will have on many lab owners and dental technicians. If something isn’t done for dental laboratories soon, the history books will note this as the date the profession disappeared in the UK.”
The DLA are making the logo available for all to use and promote and asking all social media posts to end with #SaveLabs. If you would like the electronic artwork, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and they will handle your request.