Infection guidance ‘under review’

08 July, 2021 / infocus

Infection prevention and control (IPC) guidance is being reviewed with the aim of relaxing measures proportionately and safely, depending on the level of COVID-19 risk.

In a letter to NHS practices, Tom Ferris, Scotland’s Chief Dental Officer, said: “There is clearly a pent up demand from patients wishing to see their dental team and a backlog of unmet need. The key to unlocking more clinical care is the development of more proportionate but safe IPC guidance, especially if we move beyond Level 0 later in the summer.”

Work is under way, led by Public Health England and involving all UK nations, to examine government policy for people who have been vaccinated.

Recent revisions to the guidance already include: no fallow time for AGPs on members of the same household; a move back to pre-pandemic application of cleaning controls; and reinstating pre-pandemic application of waste handling. 

The British Dental Association said that it welcomed the CDO’s pledge to ensure dentistry is represented in all guidance discussions “as we are acutely aware of the stress being placed on the profession as a result of increased patient demand and the unmet backlog of dental care need.”

UPDATE: In a subsequent post on its website, the BDA added: “After the CDO’s letter to the profession last week, our members raised a number of concerns about the review of infection prevention and control guidance currently underway.

“Some commented the letter was premature for primary care dentistry, as the recent revisions only apply to those working in a hospital dental setting at this stage. Many were unaware of the recent revisions and asked where this information had been initially announced. Some were unclear on the specifics of the information and what impact this would have on them.

“This feedback clearly shows that clarity from the Scottish Government is required including dentistry-specific, evidence-based guidance to allow dentists to work safely. We have collated [the] feedback and submitted it to the Scottish Government for comment.”

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