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Minister signs off on PPE purchase destined for General Dental Practice

Image: icon of a tooth and the text Coronavirus (COVID-19) Dental Services

The Health Minister Robin Swann has signed off on the purchase and delivery of a large consignment of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for General Dental Practices (GDP).

“Dentists will be receiving over three million individual items of PPE in the next few weeks,” said the Minister.

“This will allow practitioners to see considerably more patients while ensuring that staff and patients are fully protected.”

Over 3 million individual items of PPE have been purchased including: –

Given the number of PPE items involved and the necessity to provide practices with differing amounts, the distribution exercise in itself poses a considerable logistical challenge. The Health and Social Care Board has been working closely with BSO to coordinate the delivery arrangements.

Since June 29, all dental practices have been allowed to provide non-urgent dental care treatments that are non-aerosol generating.

From 20 July, dental practices are allowed to conduct routine dental care and aerosol-generating procedures subject to appropriate PPE being available and key conditions around infection and prevention control being met.

Urgent Dental Care (UDC) Centres will remain open until the end of August while the phased implementation to rebuild general dental services continues. The HSCB is continuing with efforts to fit test more Dentists for the UDC rotas so that the burden on individual Dentists may be lessened.

The minister also announced that that the Financial Support Scheme which has already provided £12 million in payments to local dentists will continue for a further two months to support the return of non-urgent dental care as the restrictions are lifted.

In the interim the department will engage with the profession around the provision of ongoing financial support for the remainder of 2020/21.