Covid-19: The impact on the dental market – update 2
We are in unprecedented and challenging times at the moment and you are no doubt all anxious about the impact that Covid-19 will have on dental practices.
We at Hempsons are keeping a very close eye on developments as they unfold and we have set out some of the key issues for dental practices that have arisen since our first update on 27th March 2020. Advice and guidance is slowing down now but we will continue to provide regular updates during these challenging times.
One of the biggest positive updates last week was the clarity around furloughing staff of mixed practices.
Under the preparedness letter of 25 March 2020, there was a lack of clarity about what support would be available to mixed practices – i.e. would the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme be made available to mixed practices that would continue to receive NHS funding? It has now been clarified that the answer is yes. Mixed practices can apply for other government support schemes (such as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) in relation to the relevant proportion of their business that is private. There will need to be an allocation of staff between the private and NHS side of the business in proportion to NHS/private income e.g. if 70% of the business’s revenue is from the private side of the business, 70% of the staff (in terms of salary) will be allocated to the private side. This side of the business can then claim government assistance e.g. it can furlough staff. The NHS side of the business will need to continue to support the NHS’s Covid-19 response, and payments from NHSE will continue in this regard.
Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme
This scheme is intended to apply to all businesses who have been affected by Covid-19 and not just those that are unable to secure normal commercial lending. Therefore, instead of offering standard term loans for those that would be eligible, all loans requested as a result of business interruption due to Covid-19 will benefit from a 80% government guarantee.
For staff that are required to assist with the Covid-19 response, the CQC has updated its guidance on DBS checks – click HERE to view. Although providers are encouraged to carry out the usual employment checks, it may not be necessary for full DBS checks to be received where the staff are required urgently. A full DBS check will need to be requested, but a free fast-tracked barred list check result can be requested for those staff required urgently for frontline response.
The message remains that dental practices should not be offering routine care and the CQC has announced that it will consider taking action against practices that do so.
If you have any legal questions about the impact of Covid-19 on your practice, then please do get in touch and visit our COVID-19 PORTAL for more information.