1. Foyle criticises strict competition legislation for restricting IDA
Ireland’s dental profession has probably never faced as many challenges as it does today, making unity more important than ever, according to one of the sector’s leading figures.
Dr Robin Foyle, outgoing president of the Irish Dental Association, criticised competition law and the Dental Treatment Service Scheme (DTSS) in his commentary opening the organisation’s 2017 annual report. He said that strict legislation over competition starting with the Competition Act 2002 severely restricted the IDA’s ability to represent the interests of its members and patients.
“Competition law is very important to prevent businesses price fixing and when used for that purpose, none of us can have any argument with it,” Dr Foyle said. “Price fixing between local practices is fundamentally wrong and damaging to our patients, whose best interests are paramount.
“However, our government uses this to prevent any collective protest on inadequate state schemes that do not serve our patients well. The fact that the patients affected are the poorest in our society makes it even more shameful.”
Dr Foyle added that he felt the Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS) had “added insult to injury” with the issue of 400 letters to contractors over surgical extraction claims.
“price fixing between local practices is fundamentally wrong”
2. HMRC move on job status of associates
The BDA is advising associate dentists to speak to their accountant before responding to a letter from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) indicating that it is reviewing their employment status.
The association also asks that associates let it know as soon as possible at Advice.Enquiries@bda.org if they have been contacted by HMRC. It would be helpful if the BDA had a copy of the letter received and an indication of practising arrangements, such
as NHS/private, and whether, for example, the associate works in a prototype practice.
Associates should scan or photograph the letter to attach it to an email and send it to the above address. The information provided will be used to help the BDA build a picture of what is happening, and personal information will not be used. Copies will be destroyed after the BDA’s work has concluded. It is monitoring developments closely and will offer further information to members when there is more clarity around the scope of the HMRC process.
3. X-rays – Is your practice registered?
Dentists who have not yet registered their use of X-ray generations under new regulations have been urged to do so as soon as possible.
The request, by the Health and Safety Executive in Northern Ireland (HSENI), applies even
if dentists have previously told HSE that they work with ionising radiation.
IRR17 has replaced IRR99 and introduces a three-point risk-based system of regulatory control – “notification” (for low-level risk activities), “registration” (for the operation
of radiation generators) and “consent” (for the highest risks).
HSENI requires only one registration (the exact number of sites is not a major concern and one address will suffice for their records/contact needs). If dentists operate as two separate entities (e.g. as a limited company and a sole trader) and one set of radiation equipment is shared, two registrations are required.
Dentists can register by filling out the IRRNI17 questionnaire form and email it to: firstname.lastname@example.org
4. RCSI postgraduate education programme
The RCSI’s Faculty of Dentistry has unveiled its postgraduate education programme of events for autumn and winter this year. All are free to attend.
The series runs from September through to December 2018 and includes a series of lectures. Subjects covered encompass the whole range of dental practice and include basic sciences, practice management and practical tips.
The monthly modules provide an opportunity for dentists who wish to update their knowledge and are also particularly suited to those preparing for the Diploma of Primary Care and MFD examinations.
There will also be a paediatric dentistry lecture series, held in conjunction with the start of a three-year FFD Specialty Programme in Paediatric Dentistry in association with Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar.
Another element of the programme is a one-day intensive revision course in September.
• The faculty is also running a two-day CBCT training course for dentists in October in collaboration with the British Society of Dental and Maxillofacial Radiology.
5. Diploma opportunity for new students
A new cohort of students will have an opportunity to gain a formal dentistry award from September when Trinity College Dublin begins a new session of its Diploma in Dental Nursing.
After successfully completing the 16-month long programme, students, who must already
be employed in dental practices, will be permitted to enter the Voluntary Dental Council Register for Dental Nurses in Ireland.
The course is modular in design and is a joint initiative between the Dublin Dental University Hospital and Cork University Dental School. It will be offered in Dublin, Cork and, provisionally, Galway. An option is also offered for the course to be delivered to participants in more remote areas, with teaching supported by distance learning and video conferencing.
Content is delivered to students via the virtual learning environment known as Blackboard Learn. Academic teaching will take place in the Dublin Dental University and Hospital on the Trinity College Campus, while clinical skills and training will be at participants’ own dental surgery.
The programme consists of lectures, tutorials, demonstrations and practical experience. Students will be assessed on a continuous basis. By the end of the course, they will have developed appropriate skills in patient
and team management.
6. Dazzling duo win dancing competition
Two staff members from Enniskillen Bupa Dental Centre have displayed dazzling dancing skills by winning a company-wide ‘Strictly’ competition, and helping raise £26,800 for Make-A-Wish in the process.
Practice manager Aisling Leydon and dentist Joe Murphy underwent 12 weeks of training before competing in ‘Bupa does Strictly’. They were one of 10 couples from Bupa’s dental practices who took part.