Dentists 'fearing bankruptcy and ultimately closure' amid coronavirus
and live on Freeview channel 276
Labour’s Alex Sobel said that many dental practices are “fearing bankruptcy and ultimately, closure” and will not survive the coronavirus outbreak.
In response to a request from Tory MP Maria Miller for the Government to look at how practices “can move forward”, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it is “important to get dentistry back on its feet”.
Mr Sobel (Leeds North West) said: “Dozens of dentists have got in touch with me Secretary of State saying that the measures put in place aren’t protecting them and their practices – they take on a combination of private and NHS patients.
“Many are fearing bankruptcy and ultimately, closure.
“This will leave NHS dentistry in an existential crisis – what steps is the Secretary of State taking to ensure that NHS dentistry survives the coronavirus crisis?”
Health ministers are working “very hard” with the British Dental Association and other bodies “to make sure that dentists get the support that we need”, Mr Hancock said.
Ms Miller added that a number of dentists in her constituency of Basingstoke feel that they have got the correct personal protective equipment (PPE) to be able to carry out emergency dental procedures.
“So can my right honourable friend just perhaps outline how we can move forward with dental practices in the same way as he’s worked so hard in moving forward with the work that hospitals are able to do now, for which I’d like to reiterate my thanks,” she said.
Mr Hancock replied: “This is a really important point. I will write to her with the proposed plans for reopening dentistry.
“It’s obviously got to be done in a safe way and PPE is one important consideration. Dentistry by its nature requires close contact and also can be an aerosol generating procedure in certain circumstances which makes it a higher risk to the dental practitioner, the dentist or nurse and therefore by turn to other future patients.
“So we’ve got to get this right. Emergency dentistry is available in dentistry hubs that have been set up during the crisis.
“It’s important to get it right but it’s important to get dentistry back on its feet.”