NHS Dental Statistics for England annual report brings together information on NHS dental activity for the 12-month period to 31st March 2020 and information on the number of patients seen by an NHS dentist up to 30th June 2020. Data about courses of treatment, clinical treatments and dental workforce are included to provide insight into NHS dental activity in England. This data is summarised at national and regional level in annex 1 and annex 2 of the publication and practice level information can be found in annex 3.
On the 25th March 2020, dental practices were instructed to close and defer routine, non-urgent dental care including orthodontics and establish remote urgent care services to limit the transmission of COVID-19. The restrictions included:
• Cease all routine dental care (including orthodontics) (UK-wide)
• Cease all aerosol generating procedures (UK-wide)
• Offer patients with urgent needs appropriate advice and prescriptions over the phone (UK-wide)
• Cease all face-to-face urgent care (England, Scotland)
Due to the COVID-19 restrictions the number of FP17 and FP17W claim forms and therefore, the totals regarding activity, patient numbers, finances and treatments, will be much lower than traditionally expected for the final quarter of 2019/20 and the months leading into 2020/21. It is anticipated the number of children patients will be impacted the most. Dental practices could commence opening from 8th June 2020 for all face to face care, including non-urgent treatment and where practices assessed they had the necessary safety requirements in place. Information about instructions from NHS England can be found online.
The reduction in dental services through the pandemic is captured in with the NHS Dental Statistics for England publication, from March 2020 to 30th June 2020 within the measure Patients Seen. This report will outline the estimated impact of COVID-19 using the data at national level for NHS dental practices and explain the caveats where they are applicable.