The latest standard operating procedure (SOP) for NHS dental services in England has been released.
Published yesterday, the updated guidance follows a review into AGPs in the climate of COVID-19 and the new COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental index.
Key revisions include the reduction of fallow time and changes to mask requirements.
The updated SOP means that fallow time can be cut if practices meet the necessary ventilation and mitigation requirements.
When six to nine air changes take place each hour (ACH), a baseline fallow period of 20 minutes is recommended. This can be reduced to just 15 minutes if there are 10 or more ACH.
Confirmation of mask requirements
Additionally, it confirms that FFP3 and loose-fitting powered hoods are recommended for AGP treatments. However, if a risk assessment shows an FFP2 mask is suitable, it is recommended as a safe alternative.
With this in mind, the Office of the CDO states: ‘This means that as there are existing stocks of FFP2 masks, it is understood that it may be necessary for practices to continue to use these until staff are successfully fit-tested and supplied with the appropriate FFP3.’
Alongside the new SOP, England’s CDO Sara Hurley also spoke out on the new NHS dentistry and oral health bulletin.
Light at the end of the tunnel
‘Most importantly of all, I want to thank everyone in dentistry,’ she said.
‘From those working in primary care and community dental services to our teams in secondary care and the hospitals, the dental laboratories and the behind the scenes offices. You’ve all worked incredibly hard and are continuing to do so.
‘There is no doubt that COVID-19 will continue to present challenges for us all and our colleagues across the wider health system. But I know from the hard work and dedication I have seen, we will pull through.’
Sara Hurley will also host a webinar on how the new fallow requirements and infection prevention control will work. Taking place on Thursday 5 November at 16:30, she will be joined by deputy CDOs Eric Rooney and Jason Wong, as well as PHE representatives.
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