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Information from NHS E, PHE and DoH on the COVID response for dental teams.

Current referral status

Following advice from the CDO, NHSE/I, PHE and the UK Government the following arrangements are in place for dental referrals.

Patient’s should be aware dental activity in secondary care settings has recommenced but there are long delays in treatment times.

Please be aware that the Office of the Chief Dental Officer has now released the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for dental treatments during the COVID lockdown. You can access this from the link below.

The following link provides details on NHS E national response to primary care dentistry and the COVID response.  The link is updated and the SOP is available here.

Cancer Referrals

We will continue to process 2WW referrals received via the electronic system.  These should only be made when there is a real risk of cancer and referrers should be aware that such appointments may be delayed due to NHS staff deployments.  Referrers should follow up on such referrals to ensure the patient has been seen in two weeks.

Urgent Cases

Cases where patients are seriously unwell, or their medical condition means that a dental infection could be life threatening should be referred to A&E departments.  This should be recommended only for those patients who are in desperate need of surgical intervention.  Others should be managed as per below, including those patients who are in pain or who have manageable dental infections.

Referrals to Urgent Care Hubs

If your area has made arrangements for electronic referral to Urgent Care Hubs then you will see a COVID referral form in your referral dashboard.  You should use this to refer cases to Hubs only after AAA has been performed and has failed to resolve the patient’s problem.  Each area will have specific guidelines for referrals which will be provided at the top of the referral form.  COVID referrals are currently available in:

Cheshire & Mersey – Cold sites only – patients with symptoms should be referred directly to LUDH
Central Midlands – Hot and Cold Sites
Greater Manchester – Hot and Cold Sites
Lancashire & South Cumbria – Hot and Cold Sites (From 4th May)
East of England – Online forms now available

All other referrals

These will be accepted and triaged as normal with:

  1. Secondary care cases being held on waitlists for each hospital until such time that they can be sent.  Referrers should note that it may be several months before patients are seen and they should advise patients that if they fall ill or have underlying conditions to contact 111 if they are seriously unwell. Should hospitals prefer to hold their own wait lists this can be accommodated. Patients should be told not to contact hospitals while they wait for their appointments.
  2. Primary care cases will be sent to our primary care providers but will not be seen until local and national guidance permits.



East of England.

Your form is now available, log on as usual here and use the UDC Referral Form – COVID to refer your patient.  You can find this form under the “Submit Referral” dropdown or in your software integration (SoE, Dentally etc).

Referrals to hubs in areas without electronic referral forms.

The following information has been made available to assist dentists who do not have a COVID form online.  Please contact your local NHSE area if you need further information.

Management of Symptoms

Current advice is that pain and infection should, for the time being, be managed with pain killers and anti-biotics.  While not ideal the NHS resources are properly being directed to those individuals who have life threatening respiratory illness.

If you have any queries please contact the referral team at where we will be happy to help.

NHS England’s current advice – Preparedness letter 3 here

We will update this as more information becomes available.

Other information for dentists

The following section provides additional information that we have been provided.

This document provides information on cross infection control measures for primary care and has been released by public health across the UK nations. Download here

Additional information made available via PHE

Information for patients

The BDA has produced a very useful guide for patients here.


Survey Request from KCL

Researchers from Kings College have said “The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted it unprecedented circumstances for dental professionals. We have created a short survey to understand dentist perception and attitude regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the dental working life.  Please would you mind taking a moment to click on the link below and complete the survey. It should take no longer than 2-3 minutes to complete

Click here to complete survey

Area: Central Midlands | Cheshire & Merseyside | East Anglia and Essex | Greater Manchester | Lancashire | Thames Valley | Yorkshire & Humber