Your NHS dentistry and oral health update

22 July 2021
1 min read

Sara Hurley, chief dental officer England, and Ed Waller, director of primary care
NHS England, have recently provided an update regarding self-isolation policies and retuning to work for those who are a healthcare provider. In their statement, they said, “We are writing with further information on the government's announcement that if there is a likelihood that staff absence creates a significant risk to the health or safety of patients, health staff whose activities are critical to the on-going provision of care and who have been identified as a contact of a case of Covid-19 may be able to attend work rather than self-isolate, if they are fully vaccinated (more than 14 days after the second dose).

The NHS' chief nursing officer, chief people officer and national medical director have written to you and other NHS colleagues to clarify what this means. Please read this letter carefully.

Alongside Healthwatch and minister Jo Churchill, we have also written to NHS dental practices asking they keep their NHS profiles up to date. We ask that you do this as a matter of priority. 

We are deeply saddened that Dame Margaret Seward, former chief dental officer England has passed away. Margaret was the first woman CDO and a passionate advocate for oral health and the profession. Our thoughts are with her family at this time.

More specifically reagdrding the self-isolation process for returning to work, they said, “The Government guidance 'COVID-19: management of staff and exposed patients or residents in health and social care settings' can be found online here.

The NHS' letter to healthcare staff  (July 19) can be found online here. This has been sent to you via the usual cascade processes.

You should read both these documents in full.

A discussion will need to take place between the relevant worker and their employer about whether it would be appropriate to make use of these provisions based on the facts of the individual case. 

Risk assessment as per the published guidance should be carried out by the senior clinical leadership (for example, the practice principal or senior associate) in that practice. We recommend that the risk assessment takes into account the considerations in the NHS' letter as of July 19 and any other recommendations or instructions from local public health teams.

You should notify your local commissioner of the outcome of the process unless they inform you this is not required, and assume that the director of public health must formally authorise each individual’s return to work, unless notified of an alternative sign off process.