BAPD launches recommendations on returning to clinical practice

BAPD launches its recommendations on returning to dental practiceThe British Association of Private Dentistry (BAPD) has launched its recommendations on returning to normal clinical working practices.

On the 25 March all routine dentistry ceased across the UK as a response to the coronavirus outbreak. Since then, urgent dental centres (UDCs) set up across the country are delivering dentistry to patients.

But with signs that the country is slowly reopening, the association is launching its BAPD return to practice position paper. The paper collates evidence for members to use when deciding whether to return to clinical practice.

‘We really want to help the industry in its return to normal clinical working practices,’ Luke Thorley, practice principal at Royal Wharf Dental in London, says.

‘We hope this is useful to all parties in the profession, including our trade partners and also regulators. Mostly we want to provide our members with an evidence-based overview of our current status and give them information to guide decisions.

‘Data is changing by the hour and we will make revisions in the coming days, weeks and months as we continue to consult with others.’

Private dental practice closures

The paper points to a lack of evidence supporting the current response to the COVID-19 crisis.

It says there is no evidence suggesting dental aerosols are a primary vector for transmission. And questions why the NHS advises dental professionals to wear certain PPE equipment.

It also highlights the financial strain on private dental practices. Pointing out that the current situation leaves many private practices in limbo, receiving little or no revenue at all.

‘The closure of practices has decimated balance sheets, leaving many in a precarious financial position and a doubtful future,’ the paper says.

‘This could therefore realistically result in a situation of over-demand and undersupply.

‘A retrograde step that risks the oral health of the nation.’

BAPD recommendations

The paper concludes saying the seriousness of the COVID-19 outbreak is confounded with mixed messages from the profession.

These mixed messages leave the profession and the public confused and anxious. But, it points out, dentistry needs to balance the desire to care for patients with dental teams’ and the publics’ safety.

For this reason the BAPD concludes by making the below recommendations:

  • Look very carefully at what the science is saying. Avoid being pressured into purchasing expensive equipment that has a poor evidence-base
  • Ensure that you have sufficient stock of the PPE used pre-COVID-19
  • Start preparing your practice for social distancing and also a minimal contact patient flow.

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