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After the UK prime minister’s recent address to the nation, it is now evident that dental practices in the UK will not be reopening in May. (Image: Luis Santos/Shutterstock)

Reopening of dental practices in the UK and Ireland

By Iveta Ramonaite, DTI
May 14, 2020

LONDON, UK: While dental professionals across the world are hoping for the relaxation of lockdown restrictions and are anxious to reopen their dental practices, the UK government has not yet provided clear guidance on when dentists in the country can return to general practice and resume normal service. Similarly, the Irish Dental Association (IDA) is eagerly awaiting a response from its government and is deeply concerned over the impact of COVID-19 crisis on the dental profession in the country.

As part of the lockdown, dental practices in the UK have been closed since 24 March. On 11 May, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a much-anticipated speech in which he briefed the nation on the easing of lockdown restrictions. The speech was met with criticism, since the proposed measures lacked clear guidance. Commenting on the prime minister’s announcement and its implications for dentistry, Chief Executive of the British Dental Association (BDA) Martin Woodrow stated that the existing advice for practices in the four UK countries still applies and that practices will continue to treat patients by providing advice and prescribing analgesics and antibiotics where appropriate. Additionally, dental care will continue to be triaged into different urgent care systems.

“The Office of the CDO [Chief Dental Officer] in England has reinforced the ‘no change yet’ message. Today they have stated: ‘the temporary cessation of routine dentistry addresses the safety of patients and of dental teams as well as supporting the public health measures required to slow community transmission of COVID-19’,” Woodrow wrote in a statement.

“However discussions are taking place across the UK about dentistry emerging from the lockdown. This morning BDA Chair Mick Armstrong and I met with Health Minister Jo Churchill and CDO Sara Hurley and discussed the general approach in England, both for NHS and private practices. On Thursday we have the first meeting of an NHS England group looking at this in more detail,” he continued.

Impact of COVID-19 on dental practices in Ireland

The IDA has previously criticised the government for its lack of support for the dental profession. During a meeting with Minister for Health Simon Harris earlier last week, the IDA voiced its concerns over the impact of the pandemic on the dental profession as a whole and requested financial assistance for dentists. Additionally, the IDA demanded that dentists are supplied with sufficient personal protective equipment and that patients are granted access to the Health Service Executive’s emergency dental centres.

“We made clear to the minister that the dental profession cannot deal with COVID-19 on its own and urgently needs assistance from the state, otherwise we will see the collapse of the two state dental schemes,” said Fintan Hourihan, CEO of the IDA, in a statement. “Oral health has a huge impact on a person’s overall health, and we cannot have a situation whereby numerous dental practices permanently close, meaning dental services are unattainable for many people,” he added.

A recent survey of 329 private dentists in Ireland reported that 86% of practices had had to lay off staff owing to the pandemic, and 87% of the respondents felt that they were unlikely or very unlikely to go back to pre-pandemic levels of service. Approximately 80% of the respondents said that practice closure posed a high or very high risk to the sustainability of their practices. Finally, 93% said that the crisis would lead to a sharp decrease in income and 67% stated that they could only maintain a viable dental practice for three months at most.

  1. George Paul says:

    I cannot believe that a drug that has been extensively used as an anti malarial drug in South Asia and Africa with no alarming side effects for decades is suddenly seen as a great danger because it is not a readily available in the West and they have to depend on countries like India. I have no solid reason to believe that it might help significantly but it certainly is not a terrible risk as it is made out to be. The important test is to pit perceived risk vs benefit.

  2. Nita says:

    HCQ needs more research for efficacy and safety profile

  3. DR. M. K. SUDARSHAN says:

    WHO is an ivory tower ,much glorified by some for reasons other than science. WHO has staff and scientists and and like any other humans do err, some times by chance and some times by choice. Let us have self belief and trust Government of India, ICMR and some times even local experts in the states

  4. B says:

    Literally no reason to trust the CDC data over WHO and vice versa.

    That being said, I would trust ‘confirmed’ cases data much more than ‘infected’ since those numbers are inflated by false positives, assumptive cases, etc.

    Don’t just believe the narrative you want to believe is real, think rationally, and if you’re incapable of that, then be respectful of others that can.

  5. Narayan Rao Damera says:

    ICMR the nodal agency for medical research in India has upgraded the use of HCQS as a prophylaxis against Covid19. Now all the frontline workers like police, sanitation workers etc. are also advised to take HCQS as a prophylaxis. Prior to this only healthcare providers were advised to use HCQS as a prophylaxis. The protection offered is phenomenal. Good call from ICMR.

  6. Dr SK Gupta says:

    Richard Horton, Editor Lancet is Plagued by Anti India sentiment and in his frenzy he is playing with lives of millions of people by eroding their confidence in Safe Effective and time tested drug HCQ.

  7. Amol Thorat says:

    To good a review. Of late, it has been observed that the credibility of Lancet as well as WHO is on a decline

  8. Rob Yago says:

    Some of these comments are hysterical. So you don’t trust the CDC now? Even though they provide the bulk of all casualty data for everything from firearms to disease. So who do you trust then? The WHO? They are VERIFIABLY corrupt and have been involved in multiple scandals. And let’s say the CDC has been corrupted… You think Trump is the first and only guy to spoil them? If you believe that this data is corrupt, then ALL DATA… EVER… Is subject to corruption… Including the previous CV-19 data. And I will say this… Thise who hold the power have A LOT more to gain by inflating the numbers and instituting new control over the populace. So if anything, the numbers are TOO HIGH…

  9. Jason says:

    Amazing how those who say they are for science and data reject science and data when it doesn’t say what they want. There are now multiple studies that suggest these numbers are real. Those o us from the beginning with a background in data analytics have been questioning the original fatalit y rate, with the stated R0 contagious rates. We knew BOTH could not be true, You can’t have an infection rate of over 2.5 and 3.0 fatality rate and not have millions already dead in the world,regardless of social distancing. to try and understand the data remember the old a penny doubled every day for 31 days is worth over 11,000,000., well at 2.5 rate it is over 8 Billion

  10. Mehmetcik says:

    Harika bir çalışma darısı Anadoludaki üniversitelerimizin başına

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