The British Dental Association (BDA) is calling for a joined-up approach towards PPE in a collaborative bid to protect workers handling coronavirus.

Banding together with other organisations such as the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT) and the Society of Occupational Medicine (SOM), it states that work-related COVID-19 deaths should not be expected.

It hopes by providing the ‘best available kit’ dentists and other healthcare workers will stay better protected – leading to fewer deaths.

As a result, they are calling on the public and other organisations to back its call based on the following:

PPE to be supplied and used effectively. This should be supported with training, fit testing and compliance management
Minimising exposure where possible
Risk assessments to be carried out with hierarchy of controls applied
Use of ventilation and barriers to reduce exposure
All work-related fatalities to be investigated to help pave the way for correction
Robust and increasing access to occupational health.

Desperate

This comes as the government releases new PPE guidance for both primary and secondary settings.

The organisations believe that although the advice was an improvement, the guidelines should go further if workers are to be well protected.

BDA chair Mick Armstrong said: ‘Too many NHS workers are being sent to the frontline inadequately protected.

‘We desperately need a joined-up approach to PPE. Irrespective of official guidelines, all health professionals should be able to access the best available kit.’

Additionally, yesterday (April 7) the BDA had a virtual meeting with health minister Jo Churchill and CDO for England, Sara Hurley.

It raised concerns and queries regarding the guidance and supply of PPE and the creation of urgent dental care centres. It expects clarification on PPE and dentistry later this week.

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