Eddie Crouch, chair of the British Dental Association (BDA) recently spoke to Mike Graham on Talk Radio TV about the introduction of mandatory covid vaccinations for healthcare workers.
Eddie tells Mike that he has had both of his vaccinations and his booster – having done so at the earliest opportunity. However, he explains, “Many of my colleagues don’t think, working in the situations that they’re working in at the moment, with such heavy PPE that we wear in dental practices, and it being a very safe place to deliver care, and also talking lateral flow tests many times a week – they’re fairly confident that they’re not carrying covid at a particular time, so they don’t see the need for being mandatorily vaccinated.”
Mike then asks Eddie what sort of effect he think this could have on the dental sector, with a suspected 10 per cent of dental workers not vaccinated. He prompts, “That doesn’t sound like a big amount, but it’s quite a big number when you consider people working in different situations, holiday cover and that kind of thing – how difficult will it be to recruit replacements?”
Eddie responds, “We’ve already got a recruitment and access problem with dentistry. You hear of stories all the time of people sadly having to take their won teeth out because access into a dental practice is so difficult. We’ve lost about 37m appointments since the start of the pandemic, and it’s probably one of the things that Healthwatch and MPs get most calls from their constituents on. It really is exacerbating a problem, and a crisis, sadly, that we’ve got in dentistry at the moment.”
On their website, the BDA have discussed the effects of mandator vaccination in further detail, sharing, “As government pushed mandatory vaccination of healthcare workers through parliament with minimal scrutiny, we have warned of the calamitous impact on already stretched dental services.
“Our survey of dentists in England suggests vaccine hesitancy may push thousands out of the workforce:
- One in 10 high street respondents say they are not fully vaccinated, with nine per cent reporting they have not had their first jab
- Less than two thirds of respondents believe all dentists operating in their practices are fully vaccinated
- Less than half say their dental nurses, who are integral to the delivery of care, are fully vaccinated
- Over 30 per cent believe dental nurses at their practices will leave as a result of the mandate, with nearly 15 per cent of dentists saying they will leave themselves. Some who have received the vaccine cite ethical concerns of working to this model.