I am pleased to announce that the revised SOPs are now published
The revised SOPs incorporate the recently published COVID-19: infection prevention and control dental appendix issued jointly by the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC),Public Health Wales (PHW), Public Health Agency (PHA) Northern Ireland, Health Protection Scotland (HPS), Public Health Scotland, Public Health England and NHS England
Key points to note
The IPC guidance and the revised SOPs address one of the key challenges facing dental practices; the duration of the post Aerosol Generating Procedure (AGP) downtime. The IPC guidance details the variable duration of the post AGP downtime, with detail of the required mitigating measures and ventilation parameters. In summary where a surgery’s ventilation system can achieve 6 to 9 Air Changes/Hour (ACH), a baseline post AGP downtime of 20 minutes is recommended. Where there are 10 or more ACH, a baseline post AGP downtime of 15 minutes is recommended.
I would also ask you to note that as detailed in the UK IPC Guidance for dental settings FFP3 masks are recommended for AGP procedures. It is important that all dental professionals are offered the highest levels of protection as recommended. However, we recognise that across the system there are existing stocks of FFP2 masks and 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.
With regards the position of CQC – given the publication of the IPC Guidance and the clarification that FFP3 are now the recommended level of protection, we have discussed with the regulator the logistics of the transition to FFP3 for all staff involved in delivering AGPs. In particular the logistics of fit testing and FFP3 supply may take a reasonable period of time. Practices/providers are advised to have a plan in place to demonstrate the steps they are taking to complete the transition to FFP3 masks for AGPs in a timely and safe manner.
Chief Dental Officer England