Dentist union chief lambastes government's "poor" handling of reopening practices

5 June 2020, 15:27

By Fiona Jones

British Dentist Association Vice Chair revealed that while the government last week announced the reopening of practices, many practices are nowhere near ready.

Almost two thirds of dental practices in England are not planning to reopen on Monday despite Boris Johnson's announcement last week, a survey by an industry union suggests.

British Dental Association Vice Chair Eddie Crouch told Shelagh Fogarty his own practice will not be open until 15 June and even then there will be a 12 week backlog of patients to see.

"Once we open face to face we're going to need quite some time to get through all of those because the throughput of the practice will be about a third of what it was in February," Mr Crouch said.

He told LBC that one pervading issue is up until the last 24 hours it has been difficult for dentists to get personal protective equipment.

Dentist union chief lambastes government's "poor" handling of reopening practices
Dentist union chief lambastes government's "poor" handling of reopening practices. Picture: PA

"Despite the fact they announced practices were opening again last week...they only told the profession about the PPE situation, with regards to releasing it from the central store of PPE, 24, 48 hours ago.

"Many of my colleagues for the last five days or so have been scurrying around trying to get PPE to reopen and paying quite exorbitant prices for it.

"The coordination of this has been pretty poor all the way down, all the communication and correspondence to the profession has been poor," Mr Couch said.

He continued, optimistically, that his profession's prevention of cross-infection is the best in the health service and so they will adapt.

"Going forward dentistry operates on productivity and what we see and the numbers of patients...those numbers will be reduced for some considerable time. Hence dentistry will become more expensive either for the government to support through the NHS or through my private colleagues," he said, telling Shelagh he fears for private practices.

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