26th March 2020;" The guidance from the CDO brings much-needed clarity on whether dental practices should continue to provide emergency dental care.
The answer in England is clear and unequivocal:
Dental practices should cease all emergency care to patients with immediate effect.
This guidance applies to all dental practices irrespective of whether they are private, NHS or mixed.
Patients in need of urgent dental care for conditions that cannot wait must all now be treated in an Urgent Dental Care (UDC) facility and not in your practices. "
Pat Langley (Chief Executive, Apolline)
At present there is no facility to claim not reaching your UDA target based on patient cancellations due to Covid-19 virus. It is highly recommended that you keep DETAILED information related to patient cancellations over the next 3 weeks. This may be required in future to prove that you did have an unprecedented fall off in attendance directly related to the corona virus.It would also be valuable to show that you were on track to meet your target prior to the coronavirus outbreak.
Covid-19 & Force Majeure advice
Force Majeure can be applied retrospectively to Dental Contracts after year-end and annual reconciliation. You will then know if you are short of your contract target and by how much.
Herts LDC advice for the year 2019-2020:
Keep records of patients’ names, dates and type of anticipated treatment (NHS & Private) of patients that cancel their appointments (for whatever reason) from Mid January onwards as evidence that Covid-19 caused a loss of UDAs over and above what would normally be expected to be achieved. The better your evidence then the more likely you are to get a sympathetic response (if at all) from NHS England.
If you were way off target in Mid Jan with no hope of making up the shortfall then “force Majeure” would not be appropriate.
If, on the other hand, you fall just below the 96% threshold – let’s say arbitrarily 85-96% range then with Robust Evidence of mass cancellations by patients and subsequent loss of expected UDAs then getting force Majeure applied may be considerably easier.
Our advice for 2020-2021
Continue to keep recording cancellations, poor response to recalls and any other evidence of a decline in patient attendance. You may have to do this for the full year.