BADN welcomes BSA survey on pay concerns

The British Association of Dental Nurses, the UK’s professional association for dental nurses, welcomes the survey by the NHS Business Services Authority on pay concerns during the Covid-19 pandemic in England.

As the introduction to the survey states “The expectation from NHS England & NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) during the Covid-19 pandemic is practice owners are required to ensure that all staff including associates, non-clinical and others are continued to be paid at previous levels prior to the pandemic.”

This expectation was also made clear in the various Letters published by the Office of the CDO England during the lockdown period.

However, many dental nurses were not paid at all during the March-July lockdown period; many were forced by their employers to take annual or unpaid leave for the whole period; and some who were paid are now being told they have to pay it back or work unpaid.  “There are innumerable variations on employers not having paid their dental nurses ‘at previous levels prior to the pandemic’” said BADN President Jacqui Elsden.  “Many decent employers, who have done the right thing by their dental nurse employees, find it hard to believe that some employers have behaved in such an unethical and unprofessional manner towards the lowest paid members of the dental team.  We are delighted that, after much lobbying of the OCDO and NHS England by BADN, the BSA is conducting this survey to discover the extent of the problem.  We hope that similar steps will be taken by the other three home nations.”

Dental nurses working in NHS or mixed practices who have not been paid their usual salaries during the pandemic can complete the survey here.

Mixed practices were able to furlough an appropriate number of staff proportionate to their private practice.  This survey is for those dental nurses working in mixed practices who were not furloughed.

GDC publishes findings from ‘professionalism’ research

The findings from independent research, which was designed to inform a better shared understanding of professionalism, have been published today by the General Dental Council (GDC). This publication marks a major milestone in the regulator’s programme to develop new ‘principles of professionalism’, which will also see extensive engagement with stakeholders.

Some key findings include:

  • Professionalism is a multifaceted and context-dependent concept, and therefore, not easily defined for every circumstance or individual.
  • ‘Professionalism’ is viewed differently by members of the public and dental professionals in some instances. For example, views about professionalism in personal time, experience during the appointment, and whether the exchange of money for dental care plays a role. Dental professionals also typically framed professionalism in negative terms (i.e. what not to do).
  • These differences have important implications for the relationship between patients and professionals – and are likely to continue because professionals form their understanding of professionalism largely through observation.
  • Good communication and involving patients in decision-making is a key element of professionalism and an essential foundation of trust.

Executive Director, Strategy, at the GDC, Stefan Czerniawski, said: “Professionalism is important both to patients and to dental professionals themselves – but they don’t always mean the same thing by it. This new research makes an important contribution to the shared understanding of what it means to be a professional and to the development of principles of professionalism. It is also a crucial part of our increased focus on upstream regulation, which aims to prevent harm from taking place. I look forward to discussing the research findings with patients and professionals as the work continues.”

To read the full report visit

NASDAL Goodwill Survey – what happens next

This week saw NASDAL (National Association of Specialist Dental Accountants and Lawyers) release their Goodwill Survey statistics – these statistics are normally produced on a quarterly basis and provide a useful snapshot of the dental practice sales market.

However, these are not normal times. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, this week saw the delayed release of the figures for the quarter ending 31st January 2020.

The survey for the quarter saw a small increase – again – in the goodwill as a percentage of fee income in deals done. This is the sixth quarter in a row that deals have risen – from a low of 122% of gross fees in quarter ending October 2018, to 159% of gross fees in this latest quarter.

Again, NHS practice values fell back a little – from 166% of gross fees in the previous quarter to 155%.

The quarter did see a big rise in valuations though – up from an average goodwill value of 132% of gross fees in the quarter ending 31st October 2019 to 157% of gross fees this time. Valuations of NHS, private and mixed practices were all up in the quarter with particularly big rises in the valuations of mixed and private practices.

What will happen next?

Alan Suggett, specialist dental accountant and partner in UNW LLP who compiles the goodwill survey, said, “It is fair to say that the most interesting part of this survey is effectively what it doesn’t show – that is what has happened since March 2020 and the advent of the Coronavirus pandemic. Following this, I think it is fair to say that the days of the spectacular corporate deals we have seen in recent years, are over.

“At NASDAL we obviously spend a good deal of time speaking with other professional service providers such as bankers, valuers, IFAs and so on; the prevailing view is that we are currently in a ‘marking time’ stage as everyone waits for normality to return. And, most do expect normality to return. The number of practice sales during the last few months has massively reduced and those that are being done are often seeing a substantial discount to go through.

“At present, most buyers are requesting a delay in the process. There is more uncertainty with regard to lender valuations, some valuers are valuing at pre Covid levels but based on the assumption of a longer sale period rather than the previously normal 6 months. Lenders are still happy to lend but they want more information such as up to date management accounts, or even vendor prepared cashflow forecasts.”

The goodwill figures are collated from accountant and lawyer members of NASDAL on a quarterly basis in order to give a useful guide to the practice sales market. These figures relate to the quarter ending 31st January 2020.

NASDAL reminds all that as with any averages, these statistics should be treated as a guideline only.

Dental Protection calls for GDC leniency as third of dentists say fear of investigation is affecting mental wellbeing

Dental Protection has called for the GDC to take a lenient approach to complaints related to the treatment of patients during this Covid-19 crisis.

This comes as a Dental Protection survey of over 500 dentists – which was completed by dentists following their return to practise – shows that a third (33%) feel their mental wellbeing is worse than two weeks ago. 55% of dentists in the same survey said that working in unfamiliar ways is a key concern, with 33% also saying that fear of regulatory investigation is having the most impact on their mental wellbeing.

In a letter to the Professional Standards Authority (PSA), which oversees work of all professional regulators of healthcare in the UK, Dental Protection has stated that guidance for the GDC and other regulators is needed that would provide more reassurance on the issue of when an investigation would be conducted or not.

Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection said: “Dental professionals have faced a range of challenges throughout this pandemic, and many have now returned to practise in equally in unsettling and challenges circumstances – working in different ways, worrying about their health and that of their patients, and facing a backlog of patients with problems potentially due to the delay in treatment.

“The GDC and other regulators proactively issued a joint statement in March confirming they will fully consider the context which dentists have been practising in during this time when reviewing any complaints they receive. While we welcomed this statement, we believe members would welcome clear guidance from the PSA which would demonstrate in more detail how the regulators will ensure a proportionate approach will be taken, especially as it will likely be a number of years before such complaints might be handled and at a point when memories of this time have faded. A more lenient and considered approach to investigations seems entirely appropriate given the unique circumstances.

“The pressure and stress involved with working in unfamiliar ways, and the prospect of a regulatory investigation down the line, is clearly taking its toll on dentists’ mental wellbeing. I know that more reassurance on this issue would be greatly valued by our members who are doing their very best for their patients.

“I would also like to remind members of our counselling service for those experiencing work-related stress. The service is provided through a third-party partner and is completely confidential.”

The survey was conducted by the independent market research organisation, Research By Design ( It ran from 18th to 29th May and achieved 506 responses from dental members in the UK.

NHS England releases GP Patient Survey Dental Statistics – January to March 2020

Between January and March 2020, 2.3 million adults were asked for their views on NHS dentistry as part of the GP Patient Survey. Participants were asked if they had tried to obtain an appointment with an NHS dentist and, if so, whether it was with a practice they had been to before and if they had been successful. They were also asked what their overall experience was of NHS dentistry.  Patients who hadn’t tried to obtain an NHS dentist in the previous two years were asked to select the main reason for not trying.

The GP Patient Survey (GPPS) was significantly re-developed in 2018 in order to keep pace with changes in frontline general practice. This included updating the terminology on some of the existing questions, including additional questions and removing questions deemed to be of limited use. The format and layout of the questionnaire was also re-designed in places and, for the first time, 16- and 17-year olds have been included in the survey. There have not been changes for 2020 meaning comparisons can be made between the most recent three publications, but not completely with years prior to this.

There have also been changes with regards to geographies. A number of CCGs were merged, and boundaries were changed so that the number of CCGs was reduced from 195 in previous years to 135 this year.

The results from the survey responses are presented here at national (England), regional and Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) level.

Main results

  • 3 million GP Patients age 16 and over were contacted, 740,000 replies were received, with a response rate of 32%.
  • Of all respondents asked, just under three fifths (57.9%) tried to get an NHS dental appointment in the last two years.
  • Of the group of respondents who had tried to get an appointment in the last two years;
  • 84.3% rated their NHS dental experience as positive (50.8% very good and 33.4% fairly good);
  • 91.6% were successful in getting an appointment, a success rate of 93.8% when excluding the ‘can’t remember’ category.
  • Respondents who had not been to the practice before were less successful in getting an NHS dental appointment. Younger adults and ethnic minorities also reported a lower success rate. A lower proportion of younger adults and respondents from ethnic minorities had been to the practice before, compared to other respondents.
  • The remaining two fifths (42.1%) did not try to get an appointment with an NHS dentist in the last two years, 26.0% had never tried to get an NHS appointment and 16.1% had tried but over two years ago.
  • Of those who had not tried to get an appointment:
  • 37.4% mentioned private dentistry as the reason for not trying to get an NHS appointment; 25.9% prefer private dentistry and 11.5% stayed when their dentist moved from NHS to private.
  • A fifth (20.5%) of those patients who did not try stated they had “not needed to visit the dentist” as the reason for not attending.
  • 13.4% of the respondents who didn’t try to get an NHS dental appointment gave their reason as “I didn’t think I could get an NHS dental appointment”.

The full summary of the Dental Results from the GP Patient Survey can be found here.

DDU survey finds majority of dental professionals believe stress and anxiety levels have increased

New research published by the Dental Defence Union (DDU) has found that 68% of dental professionals surveyed feel that their stress and anxiety levels have increased since the pandemic. The DDU surveyed 224 members and also found that:

  • 67% feel stressed/anxious on a weekly basis
  • 52% feel they are unable to spend adequate time with patients
  • 47% often go to work when they don’t feel well
  • 49% feel they are unable to do their jobs effectively

Of those surveyed, the DDU discovered that 72% of respondents believe that they are making a positive difference to the lives of their patients. Also, the DDU found that members were most likely to raise concerns with their family members (88% of all respondents), colleagues (57% of all respondents) and/or their GP (42%).

This comes as the DDU launches a new health and wellbeing e-learning course which focuses on strategies for coping with adversity, the steps you can take to help yourself, and support a colleague who’s struggling.

Lesley Taylor, dento-legal adviser at the DDU, commented: “Most dental professionals are used to dealing with high pressure situations and stressful decisions but the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified these challenges to an unprecedented level. As many dental professionals prepare to return to work, they will now be faced with a ‘new normal’ and will need to adapt to new ways of working. This may elicit a wide range of emotions and the increased pressure may take its toll on their personal mental wellbeing. The DDU’s new health and wellbeing e-learning course aims to help you recognise the warning signs in yourself and others, as well as the steps you can take to seek support.”

To learn more about the DDU’s health and wellbeing e-learning course click here.

New statistics reveal rise in adults seeking tooth-straightening treatment

As orthodontic practices re-open,  more than three quarters (80%) of orthodontists report an increase in adult patients amid concerns over ‘DIY’ treatment in a new survey released by The British Orthodontic Society (BOS). 

Over half (60%), say this is due to heightened awareness of adult orthodontics, and more than 15% of orthodontists say their adult patients are influenced by celebrities and bloggers. The majority of adult patients (85%) are in the 26-55 age bracket and most likely to be female (80%).

As the demand for adult orthodontics increases, so do the options for patients. The stats also show concern around the dangers of ‘direct to the consumer’ teeth straightening – also known as ‘DIY braces’. Nearly two thirds of orthodontists surveyed (65%), are concerned that more patients will be seeking ‘DIY braces’ both during and after lockdown.

With many practices dealing with a lockdown backlog of patients and members of the public more aware of issues surrounding close contact, there is concern that more people may put themselves in danger with ‘DIY’ options.

Patients are advised in all circumstances to visit a trained clinician ensuring that they have the various options open to them explained, in person, so they can make an informed decision. The Safe Brace Campaign – – is a trusted space where patients can get advice about the safest and most effective way to have orthodontic treatment.

When asked what kind of braces they provide to their patients, orthodontists revealed a cross section of approaches: 

• Over 80% supply fixed braces with clear aesthetic brackets

• Over 30% supply lingual braces (fixed behind the teeth)

• 80% supply clear aligners

The most popular system, provided by more than 97% of orthodontists, is fixed braces on the front of the teeth, often referred to as train tracks. This figure reflects the high number of young people treated as NHS patients for whom fixed braces is the most appropriate option.

Peter McCallum, BOS Director of External Relations, commented: “It is good to see the number of adults interested in orthodontics remains high, we know that treatment can give people the straight and confident smile they have always dreamed about. We want to ensure patients are given the very best advice about orthodontic treatment. Our members, specialists and dentists with a special interest, offer a range of options for adults, enabling them to provide a solution to any kind of orthodontic problem.”

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from BOS. The survey was carried out online in April 2020.

Testing the water with your infection control knowledge

Have you ever wondered how up to date you and your colleagues are regarding infection control and water lines in your practice?

CleanCert, which specialises in developing innovative dental infection control and water purification products, is providing you with the perfect opportunity to test your infection control knowledge via a thought-provoking survey.

To be launched at this year’s Dentistry Show in Birmingham, held later this week on 18 and 19 May, this simple survey will help dental professionals understand what is required of them to achieve ‘best practice’, as well as enabling CleanCert to tailor a programme to support customers going forward.

Commenting on this exciting new project, Simon Davies, Managing Director, said: ‘Those of us working in dentistry know that there’s more to infection control that meets the eye, and there is more to CleanCert, too. Whilst our products meet all of the practice’s health and safety needs, all the while achieving ‘best practice’ safely, easily and cost-effectively, we know there’s more to be done.

“That is why we created this survey, in an effort to gain a greater understanding of the realities of infection control and water lines in dental practice for those working at the ‘coal face’. Once we have collected and analysed the data, we at CleanCert will be able to offer our customers a greater level of service than ever before, because we will have a better understanding of the limitations and challenges facing the dental team in their pursuit of ‘best practice’.”

To take part, simply pop by stand H100 – where you can be sure of a warm welcome – or complete the survey at before the end of June 2018.

What’s more, anyone who completes the survey before the cut-off date will be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury spa day for two at a Mercure Hotel.

For further details, visit, email or call 08443 511115.

Tooth decay in five-year-olds now increasing in some parts of England

Survey figures published by Public Health England (PHE) show the state of oral health of five-year-olds in the North West, Yorkshire and The Humber and the West Midlands has worsened since the last survey in 2014-2015, bucking a previous improving trend. Overall, in 2016-2017, 23.3 per cent of five-year-olds in England experienced tooth decay, improving from 24.7 per cent in 2014-2015.

More than a third (33.9 per cent) of five-year-olds in the North West have tooth decay, according to PHE’s data. The proportion of five-year-olds with tooth decay is also very high in Yorkshire and The Humber, where 30.4 per cent have rotting teeth. In the West Midlands more than a quarter (25.7 per cent) of five-year-olds are suffering decay.

The Faculty of Dental Surgery has said that although an overall drop in the percentage of 5-year-olds is welcome and reflects the work that has gone into educating families about oral health in recent years, including through NHS England’s new Starting Well programme, more needs to be done to stop deterioration in the worst affected areas of England.

Stephen Fayle, Board Member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery at The Royal College of Surgeons, said: “We are very disappointed the proportion of young children with tooth decay has increased in some areas of England, especially as this deterioration has occurred in parts of the country where decay levels are already high. This growing inequality is despite efforts to educate children, parents and carers. It is even more concerning when you consider that approximately ninety per cent of dental decay is preventable.

“More work must be done to understand why the message isn’t getting through in these areas, or if it is, why it isn’t leading to the decrease in tooth decay, seen in other parts of the country. With so many children still suffering from decay, we also need to make sure children can easily access NHS dental services, which are free for under-18s.

“We are pleased the overall number of five-year-olds in England with tooth decay continues to decrease. Many, including the Faculty of Dental Surgery, have worked hard in recent years to make people aware of the awful state of our children’s teeth.

“We can’t let children’s oral health fall off the Government’s agenda. We need to be constantly pushing for public health initiatives that remind families to brush teeth regularly with fluoride toothpaste, reduce sugar consumption and visit the dentist routinely.

“We would also like to see the promising ‘Starting Well’ initiative rolled out more widely across the country – for example, there are currently no programmes in the West Midlands even though this region has seen a rise in levels of tooth decay.”

The full results of the oral health survey of five-year-old children 2017 published by Public Health England are available here:

New BOS survey reveals a rise in the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK

New figures released by The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) to coincide with National Smile Month, which kicked-off yesterday (14 May), has revealed the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK continues to rise.

This survey, conducted in March 2018 among BOS members, was designed to gather new data about orthodontics and patient choices in the UK compared to two years ago.

Asked if they were seeing an increase in private adult treatment, 80 per cent said yes. This figure compares to 75 per cent in 2016. When asked what kind of braces they provide to their patients, orthodontists revealed a cross section of approaches:

  • Over 75 per cent supply fixed braces with clear aesthetic brackets
  • Over 35 per cent supply lingual braces (fixed behind the teeth)
  • Over 75 per cent supply clear aligners

The survey showed that adult patients are most likely to be female and in the 26 to 40 age bracket. However, the number of men seeking treatment appears to be on the rise. 19 per cent of the respondents to the survey estimate that half of their adult patients are male. This compares to 13 per cent in 2016.

The most popular system, provided by more than 98 per cent of orthodontists, is fixed braces on the front of the teeth, often referred to as ‘train tracks’. This figure reflects the high number of young people treated as NHS patients for whom fixed braces is the most appropriate option.

A quarter of BOS members responded to the survey. Of those who answered the survey, 27 per cent see only NHS patients while 67 per cent see both private and NHS patients.

Richard George, BOS Director of External Relations, commented: “It’s gratifying to see the number of adults interested in orthodontic treatment continuing to rise. If you are interested in treatment for yourself, it’s important to seek an opinion from a professional who has the training and skill to diagnose and treat a variety of orthodontic issues. Our members, specialists and dentists with a special interest, offer a range of options for adults, enabling them to provide a solution to any kind of orthodontic problem. The value of choice cannot be over-estimated.”