Dear Levy Payer,
I hope that you are all keep well and are coping during this unprecedented crisis. We thought it would be useful at this stage of the crisis to send some information out about the local situation. You may have seen this information before, but hopefully this brings it together for you. Attached are the recent guidance from the BDA regarding funding, the most recent PCA and the SDCEP guidance.
Please ensure that you are keeping up to date with correspondence from Lothian Health Board by logging into your personal and practice NHS email addresses. An email was sent last week asking for dentists to volunteer for redeployment. We should all reply to the email, as a condition for entitlement to the NHS financial support package, is conditional on the willingness to ‘assist the wider NHS, including the PDS, when asked by the NHS Board’. Sending the information requested is not volunteering at this stage, it is about gathering information for future developments.
We will hopefully receive the 80% of our average NHS fees from PSD and there has been a bit more clarity regarding furloughing staff. This is from Scottish Government PCA dated 09/04/20.
3. NHS funding support would not be a bar for practices with mixed provision to claim financial support for private dentistry, providing the claim is proportionate to the amount of private dentistry being provided. Private dental care, similar to any other private business may qualify for the Employee Retention Scheme and the Business Interruption Loan Scheme (recently revised). Dental practices need to explore each of these funding streams, taking cognisance of their precise circumstances.
Hopefully this means that a practice will be able to furlough some staff in relation to the amount of private dentistry done. We would however also caution that the guidance around furloughing is far from definitive and our advice would be that any actions in this regard should only be taken after consultation with your accountant.
Business wise I think we are all going to struggle over the next few months and so we all need to try and support one another.
It is important that practices are still providing an emergency service to their patients to reduce the number of calls having to be taken by NHS 24. Recent communications from SDCEP provide excellent advice on the Management of Acute Dental Problems During COVID-19 Pandemic and also on Drugs for the Management of Dental Problems During COVID-19 Pandemic. Whether staff go into their practices or deal with emergencies via mobile phones is up to what suits each practice. I have attached this for reference.
Lothian Health Board has set up emergency clinics at Chalmers and Bonnyrigg that will deal with patients who are COVID free or COVID symptomatic respectively and require treatment. We should be triaging calls to the practice so that only patients requiring urgent intervention are referred. This is obviously not an ideal situation and please get in touch with us if you have any feedback, positive or negative, about how this is working. Our e-mail addresses are at the top of this e-mail.
With kind regards and best wishes at this difficult time,
John, Mark, Stuart and the Lothian LDC.