Denplan invests £2m in PPE to help member dentists return to work safely
The company has announced that it is investing £2 million to provide essential, fully-certified1, personal protective equipment (PPE) to help its Denplan member dentists get safely back to work and protect and care for their patients.
As part of its support for member dentists, Denplan has been hosting the UK’s largest ever online dental lecture series in partnership with Dental Update.
As the UK's leading dental payment plan specialist, Denplan has more than two million customers with around 6,700 member dentists, as well as serving over 2,700 companies with Denplan employee benefit schemes.
However, all dental practices have been closed for normal routine dental care since the Coronavirus lockdown started on 23 March, which has created a significant impact on practices, their patients, and access to oral healthcare across the UK.
Although a definitive date is currently unknown, there is increasing speculation that practices will reopen in the near future now that the COVID-19 national lockdown restrictions are being eased in some sectors. Denplan has made the decision to invest in PPE now, as part of a number of support measures put in place since lockdown to help their Denplan dental practices survive in these difficult times, make sure they can reopen safely, and also to ensure that their patients are confident to start attending appointments again.
News this week from the BDA2 has emphasised the importance of getting dentists back to work and how private dentists are particularly exposed financially, and also the concern that access to healthcare is going to get even worse for patients with a widening oral health gap.
Romana Abdin, Chief Executive at Simplyhealth, said: 'Coronavirus has affected all of us deeply, both at work and in our personal lives. As a company, we are incredibly passionate about our Purpose which is to provide access to affordable healthcare for the many which we have been delivering for 148 years. This investment, alongside the range of support measures we have provided since lockdown, demonstrates our Purpose in action, our continued support for our Denplan members, our commitment to the long-term success of the dental industry, and the provision of essential dental healthcare to our members’ patients.'
Denplan is currently in final stage discussions with dental suppliers in the UK to create a robust operational process to provide essential PPE equipment to their member practices. Qualifying Denplan member practices3 will be allocated a fund, based on their Denplan patient numbers, which they can use to order vital PPE equipment directly from the chosen supplier. This fund will allow Denplan practices to select from a range of PPE items to help ensure the safety of their patients and of Denplan dental teams.
Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Denplan, said: 'This has been such a difficult time for the whole dental profession. Our aim is to support our members in returning to practice by providing the standard of guidance that they expect from us, to provide safe practice and the PPE to enact that. We have also been working closely with our members to provide clinical and business guidance to help them return to work once all official government guidelines can be adhered to safely. We have always strived to create a partnership with our members’ and have worked hard to ensure that we provide added value services from our clinical team and our dedicated business consultants to contribute to a successful dental practice for the long term.'
Denplan has introduced a number of other new measures to help support their Denplan dentists during the Coronavirus lockdown. These have focused on three key areas: to support practice sustainability and provide financial support through extended loans; secondly, supporting the health and wellbeing of dentists via free access to Simplyhealth’s 24-7 virtual GP and Employee Assistance Programme for practices; and finally, through ongoing CPD and professional development. This has included hosting a wide range of online lectures with expert guest speakers, and creating online versions of Denplan’s Tailor Made Training bespoke in-practice training programmes.
1There is currently no VAT to pay on PPE due to emergency measures brought in during the global pandemic and all PPE will have full certification and carry the CE mark/BSO mark.
3PPE fund will be available to all Denplan member dentists apart from large corporates and any practices who are in the process of leaving Denplan.