Private dental practitioners should benefit from government financial support afforded to their NHS counterparts says dental plan specialist Denplan in their latest white paper.
The white paper, published today by the Simplyhealth company, features a number of recommendations to be implemented as soon as practically possible.
This includes a recommendation for government to recognise the specific impact of Covid on private dentistry, and the role played by private dentists in tackling the backlog of cases the pandemic has created.
There is also a recommendation for government to be more sympathetic of the issues and pressures facing private dentists and seek to work more collaboratively with the private sector to ensure common goals are met.
Government should also ensure all future dentistry guidance, whether Covid related or otherwise, is issued by the appropriate national body with the relevant jurisdiction and be clearly applicable to mixed and private practices, not just those wholly working with the NHS and enable dental practices to resume their full range of services in England and across the devolved nations as soon as is practically possible.
The government have been called on to play an active role in communicating to the public the importance of dental hygiene and routine check-ups in maintaining oral health, both during the pandemic and beyond.
Denplan also calls for the VAT exemption for PPE to be extended to cut costs for dentists as they help their patients throughout the pandemic.
Government have also been urged to do more to recognise and communicate to the public the value of regular dental visits for both their oral and overall health to provide training and resource to support all dentists to deliver one-to-one diet and lifestyle interventions and enable all dentists to adopt a proactive approach to maintaining oral health for all patients, both NHS and private and undertake a centralised assurance and compliance process to create a list of approved providers of video consultation systems, similar to the one for GPs.
The Department of Health and Social Care is called upon to encourage NHS Digital to explore the possibility of a wider roll-out of Summary Care Records (SCR) to support dentists to play a greater role in improving population health post Covid.
Finally, government is urged to work with the sector to safeguard the profession and ensure the workforce is resilient, supported and engaged including increasing the numbers of placements, boosting financial support for dental students, strengthen training and professional development available to dentists throughout their career and acknowledge the vital role played by dental nurses and the wider dental team and map out clear training pathways.
Commenting on the white paper, Catherine Rutland, clinical director at Simplyhealth, said: “The government needs to play a more active role in communicating to the public the importance of dental hygiene and routine check-ups in maintaining oral health, during the pandemic and beyond. Whilst there has been an increase in demand for urgent and emergency care, there has been a significant drop in patients attending routine dentistry due to stay at home restrictions. This will serve to grow the backlog of demand dentists need to meet in the next 12 months.
“The right thing to do is to support the profession and for the government to recognise the specific impact of Covid-19 on private dentistry and its potential impact on patient’s oral care.
“We would like the government to recognise the role played by private dentists in tackling the current backlog of cases.”