Enhanced PPE at Scottish NHS practices ‘passed expiry date’

20 August, 2020 / infocus
 Will Peakin  

Some ‘enhanced’ PPE provided to practices in NHS Scotland has passed its expiry date, according to the BDA.

It said that some equipment dates from 2012 and “may present significant risks to patients, dentists and their teams”.

Since dental practices reopened in June, the Scottish Government and NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) have been supplying PPE to allow practices to treat NHS patients.


Update 9 September: The BDA has written to the Public Dental Service apologising “for any anxiety our press release inadvertently caused.”


Dentists have been able to provide AGPs to NHS patients requiring urgent care since the beginning of this week (17 August). However, the BDA said it had received reports of enhanced PPE which has passed its expiry date.

“This is of immediate concern, for both staff and patient safety. We’ve raised the matter with NSS and are seeking formal certification – or some other evidence – that the expired PPE has been appropriately revalidated,” it said.

NSS has developed a draft Memorandum of Understanding to continue supplying PPE free of charge to dental practices to treat their NHS patients to the end of March 2021.

The BDA added: “We are currently reviewing this draft and we make sure to raise your concerns about PPE supply and quality in our discussions with NSS and the Scottish Government.”

Updated 21 August: The BDA said it had now received assurances from the Scottish Government that recently supplied stocks of PPE are safe to use. A statement said: “While NHS National Services Scotland has confirmed today in writing that all the revalidated PPE is safe to use, the BDA will be examining the certification and evidence of the revalidation process when it is published to ensure it was sufficiently robust.”

Updated 24 August: NHS National Services Scotland (NSS) said it was “aware that our colleagues within the dental community have raised concerns regarding the status of FFP3 respirators supplied. To provide further reassurance around the revalidation of these respirators, we are today releasing the certification confirming these are safe and fit for purpose.”

NSS said it had supplied more than 15 million PPE items as part of its ongoing support for Scotland’s dental community. With around 1,100 dental practices in Scotland it has deployed via health boards 850,000 FFP3 respirators, an average of 800 per practice, free of charge.

“Revalidated FFP3 respirators are safe and independently tested to [the] original standard,” it said. “All revalidated FFP3 respirators are valid for use until March 2021.” Health boards have launched a programme of fit-testing for dentists and dental nurses, and a “sustainable long-term supply pipeline is already in place to provide a wider range of face-fit options,” said NSS.

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