Our main objective during the period of the COVID-19 pandemic is to ensure our people are kept safe and that everyone in the dental profession is aware of and understands the latest advice.
We are very aware that the situation is very fluid at present, however we wanted to remind you that our position and advice is that you continue to follow the latest NHS and government guidance. Specifically, this advises that if you have any symptoms of the coronavirus infection, however mild, then if you live on your own you should stay at home for seven days from when your symptoms started, and if you live with others, then all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The latest information can be found from Public Health England.
In recent weeks we have had the appropriate level of contact with the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) regarding COVID-19. However, it’s important to say that this has not been at the same level as other health regulators such as the GMC and NMC. This is completely understandable as doctors and nurses are engaged in the direct treatment of patients displaying COVID-19 symptoms, in a way that’s different from dental professionals. Should this situation change then we would expect to increase our engagement with DHSC, but at this stage we feel that it remains appropriate and at the right level.
The Chair has made the decision to cancel the public session of the Council meeting that was due to take place on Thursday 19 March in Birmingham. It’s not a decision we took lightly, but we strongly believe it is the correct and prudent decision in the current climate, and in line with government guidance about avoiding unnecessary travel. Council will instead carry out its responsibilities by meeting virtually.
We are also reviewing, on a case by case basis, our planned Education Quality Assurance inspections and we will be contacting the education establishments who have planned inspections individually to agree the most appropriate course of action.
As we stated earlier ensuring that we have a safe working environment is of paramount importance to us. So, following confirmation that one of our staff in our London offices has been off work with coronavirus symptoms we made the decision to close the offices on Tuesday 17 March and undertake a full deep clean. We don’t believe there is any immediate cause for concern, but felt it was prudent to take precautions.
In addition, we are asking all staff in both Birmingham and London to work from home on Wednesday 18 March to test how well we can manage the organisation if we were all working remotely. As a result of both above, we have postponed our hearings that were scheduled on both these days in London. At this stage we anticipate they will resume on Thursday 19 March.
These are fast changing and uncertain time for all of us, so please be assured that we will update you again should things change significantly. You can read the latest news on our COVID-19 web pages, which include links to the updates from all four governments and departments of health.
Chief Executive and Registrar