An £80,000 grant will support the fit testing of respirator masks in Northern Ireland, is has emerged today

An £80,000 grant will support the fit testing of respirator masks in Northern Ireland, is has emerged today. 

The Health and Social Care Board secured the five-figure sum to help fit test FFP2 and FFP3 masks for dental professionals.

This comes as part of their plan to remobilise general dental services (GDS).

Letters will be sent out to practice principals, detailing how much they can claim. This will be based on the levels of historical health service commitment and on capitation payment per patient.

Payments will be made following the submission of an application form. This should be joined by paid invoices for any training or testing from 1 April 2020.

PPE delays in dentistry

Last week, it was revealed that Northern Ireland is experiencing significant PPE delays. Around three million items of personal protective equipment (PPE) that were set to be delivered were instead pushed back until today (20 July).

These delays come as routine care in Northern Ireland got back up and running.

Dentists have been able to provide non-urgent treatments since 29 June.

But from today, dental teams can carry out aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) – but must leave a one hour fallow period between each patient.

Future of UDCs

Urgent dental care centres (UDCs), however, will continue to operate for seven days a week. These will help to reduce the burden on general practices.

In a U-turn from Northern Ireland’s chief dental officer, Michael Donaldson, he confirmed UDCs will remain at their current capacity until the end of August if necessary.

In a previous letter earlier this month, he had set out his plans to reduce UDC service provision.

The BDA welcomed the move, adding that it was ‘pleased to see a significant U-turn’.