Local councillors meet with public health representatives to discuss dentistry in Bradford

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Local councillors have met with representatives from public health bodies to discuss the future of dental services in Bradford.

At a meeting of the council’s Health and Social Care Overview and Scrutiny Committee, dentistry was one of the most pressing subjects on the agenda. Emma Wilson, from NHS England, provided an update on practices reopening and support for local dentists. One issue that is cropping up time and time again is the provision of PPE. Some patients are concerned that they will have to pay more for treatment to cover the rising costs of PPE. 

Ms Wilson suggested that PPE is still a concern for health providers, but stressed that additional charges should not be passed on to NHS patients. Some dental chains and private practices have already confirmed that prices will rise to cover the cost of buying additional PPE, but this is not as issue that should affect NHS dental patients. NHS England is also expecting practices that treat both NHS and private patients to continue charging the same fees for NHS services. 

One of the main barriers to resuming normal services is the risk associated with AGPs (aerosol-generating procedures). These treatments produce and disperse droplets, making them higher risk at a time when Covid-19 is still present in the community. To legislate for this, Ms Wilson confirmed that the NHS urgent dental centres, which were set up to provide emergency care during the lockdown, will continue to operate. There are seven hubs in the local area, and dentists can refer patients who need urgent treatment and procedures that carry higher risks. Those who are not registered with a dentist can be referred by NHS 111 operators.

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