Free PPE to be available until 2022 for NHS dental providers

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The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has confirmed that free PPE will be available for NHS dental providers until 2022.

Plans to provide NHS facilities with free PPE until the end of March 2021 have been extended until the end of March 2022. A review was carried out as the initial deadline loomed, and it has since been confirmed that NHS dental providers will continue to receive free supplies of PPE. The report took a number of factors into consideration, including data related to the expected trajectory of the Covid-19 pandemic and the progress of the vaccination programme.

Representatives from the DHSC suggested that health and safety remains the number one priority and free PPE will be provided to ensure that patients and dental teams are protected while the virus is still in circulation.

In September 2020, the government unveiled a new plan to enable dental practices to access free PPE as a means of stockpiling to prepare for a second wave. As case numbers increased in autumn and winter as expected, clinics had the supplies they needed and the aim is now to ensure that there are plentiful stores available moving forward. Although case numbers are falling and the UK vaccination rollout is going very well, there are risks associated with new variants and easing lockdown measures, so the target remains to ensure that all practices have access to sufficient PPE stocks to continue operating safely.

NHS patients have never been charged additional fees to cover PPE costs, but some private clinics have increased fees in line with higher expenses. Some private patients reported an increase of up to £40 for procedures that require additional PPE.

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