Denplan, the dental plan specialist that is part of Simplyhealth, is investing £2m to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to help its member dentists to get back to work safely and protect and care for their patients.
Problems across the UK – and overseas – for healthcare professionals to get access to PPE equipment have been widespread, adding to more complications to dental practices which have been closed for normal routine dental care since the coronavirus lockdown started in March.
Although a definitive date for dental practices to reopen is currently unknown, there is increasing speculation that practices will start treating patients again in the near future.
A spokesman for Denplan – which has over two million customers with around 6,700 member dentists, as well as serving over 2,700 companies with Denplan employee benefit schemes – said the organisation is currently in “final stage discussions” with dental suppliers in the UK to create a “robust operational process” to provide essential PPE equipment to their member practices.
Qualifying Denplan member practices will be allocated a fund, based on their Denplan patient numbers, which they can use to order vital PPE equipment directly from the chosen supplier. This fund will allow Denplan practices to select from a range of PPE items to help ensure the safety of their patients and of Denplan dental teams, the spokesman said.
The PPE arrangement sits alongside a number of other measures that Denplan has introduced during the lockdown, including extended loans to practices, the extension of free access to Simplyhealth’s 24-7 virtual GP and employee assistance programme for practices, as well as ongoing CPD and professional development.
Catherine Rutland, Clinical Director at Denplan, said: “This has been such a difficult time for the whole dental profession. Our aim is to support our members in returning to practice by providing the standard of guidance that they expect from us, to provide safe practice and the PPE to enact that. We have also been working closely with our members to provide clinical and business guidance to help them return to work once all official government guidelines can be adhered to safely.
“We have always strived to create a partnership with our members and have worked hard to ensure that we provide added value services from our clinical team and our dedicated business consultants to contribute to a successful dental practice for the long term.”