101 MPs from 7 parties have joined forces to demand immediate action to save Dental Practices.
Fleur Anderson, Labour MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, has led the campaign has issued a stark warning to the Government that unless urgent action is taken – dental practices across the country will not recover from the COVID-19 crisis.
The warning comes as over 70% of practices report they can only remain financially sustainable for 3 months or less and only one in five believe they can only survive the month.
“Unless urgent and immediate action is taken by the Government, the entire dentistry sector in the UK faces financial ruin. Dentists are frontline health professionals providing a vital service to communities, we cannot abandon them. They are also vital local businesses and employers, but the Chancellor’s support package doesn’t cover them. I have been deeply alarmed by what dentists in my constituency have told me that they won’t be able to cover their costs for the next two months and so will have to close.’
Research conducted by the British Dental Association (BDA) suggests that over three-quarters of dentists will receive no support from Government support schemes. Dental surgeries are particularly penalised by the £50,000 threshold for support through the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) and many ae not eligible for the small business support grant.
Dr Stefan Cyaprina, a Putney-based dentist said:
“In my hour of need, as I am self-employed, I am not eligible for any financial help whatsoever due to the £50,000 Self-Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS) threshold imposed by the Chancellor. I fear that I will not be able to survive the next two months, and even worse, that the dental profession as we know it will collapse within this time period.”
Dr Gulati, a dentist based in Southfields, who has been offering a free triage service to her clients, said that:
“We are a family oriented, independent dental practice serving the local community for over 60 years. Following government guidance we closed our dental practice to fight the COVID 19 pandemic.
Due to our long standing reputation and goodwill, I have been offering a free phone triage service to support my patients and the local community for over a month now. I am receiving in excess of 10-15 phone calls on a daily basis from patients requiring treatment and deeply concerned about the lack of service availability and their future oral health.
Unfortunately independent dentists like us have not received any form of financial assistance from the government and we are facing huge challenges to support our families, children and businesses. It is becoming increasingly difficult to survive this crisis and I fear the long term sustainability of the dental service post COVID 19 due to the financial burden. Our future is at stake and the government must act urgently to offer financial grants and support to this important service for the wider benefit of the community ”
As a minimum, Fleur has asked that the £50,000 cap on support through the SEISS to be raised, that dentists get easier access to the CBIL scheme and business rates relief is extended to all practices.
The British Dental Association Chair Mick Armstrong said:
“Dentists across the country are grateful for the clear message coming from MPs from all parties.
“The Chancellor’s deal has left the UK’s dental services dangerously exposed. Dedicated health professionals aren’t looking for special treatment. We just need the same support that’s been given to our neighbours on the high street.
“Failure to act will only jeopardise the care millions of patients depend on.”
**NOTES TO EDITORS**
British Dental Association Research on financial viability:
British Dental Association research on the proportion of profession left without support under plans for self employed
For further comment:
Fleur Anderson MP: 07855 746095 email@example.com
Ashley Dé, Head of Communications, British Dental Association: 07968 791684
Local Putney dentist, Dr Stefan Ciapryna: 07734 025 315
During the COVID-19 crisis, Ms Anderson has been campaigning regularly for businesses, the self-employed and charities and voluntary organisations to receive greater support, for greater protection for employees being told they have to come into work and has been in regular contact with UK embassies across the world trying to get Putney residents home who are stranded abroad.
Fleur has also set up a Putney Coronavirus Mutual Support Group and there are over 1200 members helping each other now, with more joining every day. If you are interested, please go to https://www.facebook.com/groups/PutneyCoronavirus