Part 1. Questions from Practice Owners
1.1 What do we do as staff if we have to close OR if there are no patients?
Please inform the relevant bodies, see Q1.7 below
If your practice needs to close, we suggest asking staff to undertake some tasks from home such as completing CPD courses.
Depending on the employment contract, this will either be done at full pay or lay-off guarantee pay, see our model employment contract for more information. Staff who are sick or in self-isolation, during the closure, will continue to be entitled to receive the standard sick pay.
Both associates and practice owners will lose income if the practice closes. Associates should check their associate agreement carefully to see what terms may be applicable, and discuss with practice owners what measures both parties can take to mitigate any losses.
1.2 What do we tell our staff about the future?
A Tubulite kindly shared this letter with his staff
"I appreciate you are all worried about the current crisis and how we as front line care workers should react to the latest government advice. The BDA have yet to put out anything and it was expected today but they are waiting on the Department of Health to give clarity to dentistry and let’s be honest no one cares about dentists.
We must act in the best interests of our patients and we will do that absolutely. Your financial security is of utmost importance to me and I shall do everything in my power to maintain this; but if we are to close this is likely to mean that there will have to be some reduction in everyone's pay. So we have to be cautious and balance working and seeing patients and making sure the practices are viable and not increasing our own risk.
So at the moment and it is a rapidly changing Landscape, I want to remain open and working as I believe prevention and treatment of pain and disease of our patients is essential.
This being said we should text and or call our over 70s and Medically compromised patients who are coming in for treatment and give them the option of attending. Sarah and I will work on the precise wording. They may still choose to attend given we could be closed any time now, and would rather risk the attendance than suffer with dental pain and not be able to access us. Let’s be honest 111 is appalling for dental emergencies even at the best of times.
I will not be upset or annoyed if you feel you don’t want to work and want to take unpaid leave or holiday or if you are sick and want to get sick leave. All I ask is if this is the case you give us some prior warning of your intentions where possible so we can arrange cover and continue to provide services to our patients.
As with everything going on at the moment these are unprecedented times and if I can help any of you with anything even on a personal level I will do my best to make sure you are ok.
Try not to worry. These times are going to be very strange indeed and it is essential we don’t all stress and make ourselves ill. Eat well, exercise if you can, maybe we all need this time to reflect what is truly important to us and make contingencies for our elderly loved ones.
I hope this clarifies my thoughts today and of course I will update you as events unfold.
1.3 What do we do for long term planning?
At the moment there is no answer
1.4 What about the plan subs for patients?
At the moment there is no answer
1.5 What happens if someone in our practice (patient or staff) is found to have COVID-19?
Contact your local health protection team for advice . Find your local team at https://www.gov.uk/health-protection-team . They will discuss the case, identify people who had been in contact with the affected person, conduct a risk assessment and advise on any actions or precautions to take.
If a staff member is found to have a continuous cough or high temperature, they must be asked to self isolate for 14 days
1.6 What if my practice cannot meet the UDA obligations and targets?
Q10 on the BDA advice page is useful . Read it at https://www.bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/faqs.aspx?utm_source=linked...
1.7 Who needs to know if we close the practice?
Q11 on the BDA advice page is useful . Read it at https://www.bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/faqs.aspx?utm_source=linked...
1.8 What happens if a staff member needs to self isolate as they confirm they have the symptoms or they have a confirmed diagnosis?
Q2 at https://www.bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/faqs.aspx?utm_source=linked...
has the answer
They state "If a staff member is told by a medical professional or NHS 111 to self-isolate, they should be treated as if they are on sick leave. The government has said that statutory sick pay should be payable from the first day of the sickness period.
Employers with fewer than 250 employees will be eligible to reclaim two weeks' SSP for each employee who has been affected by COVID-19. This has not yet been formalised in emergency legislation, but it may include a clause allowing it to be backdated. Ensure you keep records of any absence due to COVID-19 to be able to claim this back from the government."
1.9. What if a staff member is pregnant and wishes to stay away due to the risk?
Q3 at this link has a comprehensive answer. https://www.bda.org/advice/Coronavirus/Pages/faqs.aspx?utm_source=linked...
2.0 What if a staff member has a pregnant partner and wishes to stay away due to the risk?