More than 100 MPs have clubbed together and called for better government support for private dentistry in the face of COVID-19.
In a letter addressed to the chancellor, 101 MPs have called on the government to extend their coronavirus financial measures to include the dental sector.
They are calling for:
- The £50,000 cap to be raised on the self-employment income support scheme (SEISS)
- Easier access to the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme (CBILS)
- Business rates relief to be extended to all practices
Headed up by MP for Putney, Roehampton and Southfields, Fleur Anderson, the members of parliament who signed the letter span across seven different political parties.
‘Unless urgent and immediate action is taken by the government, the entire dentistry sector in the UK faces financial ruin,’ said Ms Anderson.
‘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.’
This comes as the sector bands together to form the British Association of Private Dentistry in a bid to represent private concerns.
Falling between cracks
Rangewell is a business finance specialist company that works with UK SMEs and their advisers to help them find, compare and apply for business finance.
It is calling for further transparency of the coronavirus business interruption loan scheme by asking the chancellor to provide weekly reports on its success.
Carl Valencia, director of healthcare at Rangewell, said: ‘Private dentistry practices have historically been well run, stable strong businesses – the COVID19 crisis literally came out of nowhere for them.
‘Rangewell have been pointing out to the government since the first day of lockdown that many private practices given their size and historical profitability ran the risk of falling between too many cracks when it came to the business support schemes.
‘Yesterday Rangewell wrote an open letter to the chancellor specifically asking that he provides real time data on the CBIL loan scheme so it was clear which business sectors are managing to gain access to the scheme.
‘It will be interesting to ensure that dentists, given their importance to the health and wellbeing of the UK, get the support the need from the CBIL Scheme’
British Dental Association (BDA) chair Mick Armstrong said the industry is appreciative of the support.
He 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.’
Follow Dentistry.co.uk on Instagram to keep up with all the latest dental news and trends.