Financial support for NHS primary care dental service providers during COVID-19 Pandemic.

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Over the past few weeks, there has been significant disruption affecting primary dental practices due to COVID-19 as patients continue to cancel their appointments, the dental supply chain struggles and some practice staff members having to self-isolate for 7 days as per guidance from NHS England. Subsequently, many primary care dental providers around the UK have been impacted financially unfavourably. This is causing a significant amount of distress amongst general dentists who have various financial commitments and responsibilities. Additionally, dentists do not have the option to work from home. Our ethical and moral duty to treat patients face to face and directly remains, even though we are placing ourselves at risk everyday now. With no other financial support from the government for self employed members of staff and no entitlement  to a satisfactory amount of statutory sick pay, should we be forced to self isolate in the future, these times and circumstances are extremely worrying. 

The LDCs have written the national NHS England and NHS Improvement COVID-19 response team seeking urgent clarification on the most immediate issues. This includes clarification on our NHS contract management. 
This petition is for change within the primary care dental service during these uncertain times. We request that NHS contract payments will continue to be paid for 2019-20 and through 2020-21, irrespective of UDA/UOA delivery.The COVID-19 pandemic has been forecast to last for months, and peak in the summer of 2020. Our pay and subsequent quality of life will significantly be affected as a result should we continue to work the way we are. This will no doubt result in work related physical and mental stress and burnout amongst many dentists (more so than usual). This will also increase the risk of workers continuing to go into work due to their financial strains and spreading infection when they should in fact be self isolating at home and recovering.

As a result, we ask that the year-end process 2019-20 is suspended and NHS contract payments continue to be paid through 2020-21, irrespective of UDA delivery. 

As well as general dentists, dental hygienists and therapists are amongst the demographic of self employed workers who also deserve financial support and reassurance during these uncertain times. We hope the NHS can provide a plan of action to support self-employed dentists and DCPs on the front line, who are placing themselves at risk on a daily basis to provide continual care for our community.