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COVID-19 Update – 17th June 2020

Our second digest of this week and the 30th of the lock down period. We hope you find it of interest.

Political/Clinical Update

The First Minister, did (as anticipated) move the country in to Phase 2 of the recovery plans this week.
I warned in my digest of 3 weeks ago that the 18th of June was the earliest date of return for NHS services based on the road map document, and today this date has been confirmed as Monday 22nd June. Please bear in mind that, as I have previously stated, this is an advisory date and it is not understood that it is mandatory to open the practice doors on Monday should you not be in a position to do so. The NHS support package will be unaffected by the date you open, so please do not add to your stress levels by concerning yourself in that regard if not prepared at this stage. 
The Scottish Government has, alongside the FM’s announcement, released the updated road map guidance for Phase 2 which I share below;
Route Map Phase 2 Update 18-06-20

The CDO has followed up the Route Map guidance with a short letter of confirmation. It does not add a great deal of information but you may be interested to read it below.
CDO Letter – Move to Phase 2 18-06-20

On the subject of the CDO position, I uncovered a Freedom of Information (FOI) request on the Scottish Government website today. Given the quest for clarity of jurisdiction and oversight regarding the CDO over the last few weeks it is perhaps unsurprising that the question for a FOI was raised. It was submitted on the 11th June and requested the following information;

1. I would like to know the job description for the Chief Dental Officer.
2. What scientific/technical/dental committees or groups supply advice or guidance to the Chief Dental Officer?

And the response was as follows; I enclose a copy of documents which were available during the recruitment process of the current Chief Dental Officer.The documents attached are:
Job Advertisement which was published on local dental websites.
FOI CDO Job Advert

Further information memo which gives a brief description of the role.
FOI Further information

Terms & Conditions of the post.
FOI – CDO Terms and Conditions

In answering your second question, the Chief Dental Officer communicates with many different scientific/technical/dental committees and groups which I have listed below.
UK Chief Dental Officer GroupNational Dental Advisory CommitteeScottish Dental Practice BoardNHS Board Directors of DentistryBoard for Academic DentistrySG/PSD Liaison GroupScottish Oral Health Research Group
I thought this may have been of interest and have included it in tonight’s digest for your information.


Given that we now move in to Phase 2 practice, and the opening of at least 1 surgery, it is most likely that many practices will be considering the possible un-furloughing of the dental team where appropriate.
With my previous guidance in mind around how to make your full team available for Flexible Furlough Scheme (FFS) eligibility your minds may now turn towards the optimal clinical and commercial composition of your team in the weeks ahead.
Please take care until the 1st July not to invalidate your eligibility to furlough the whole team flexibly thereafter and ensure that both

1. Everyone has been furloughed for at least 3 weeks at some point prior to 30th June; and
2. Ideally you have furloughed everyone at the same time in at least one of your claims.

The second point is critical as you may have identified from my digest number 29 that you will be capped to the maximum number of employees in any previous claim. Therefore if you never had everyone on a claim at some point you may find the rota approach impossible for a full team under FFS from July to October. 
I’m aware that you may like to know how to document the steps involved in taking employees off furlough as well as how to agree and designate employees as a Flexibly Furloughed team member. With that in mind, and with the caveat that we are not HR lawyers and you should seek advice where appropriate, I am happy to share some documents/templates you might find helpful. These are as follows;
Firstly – a guidance document on the steps required to get employee agreement to furlough flexibly
Advice – Seeking agreement for FFS

Followed by further guidance on how to designate an employee as being furloughed flexibly
Guidance on designating employees as FFS

After considering your own specific circumstances you may like to tailor the following documents for your team where appropriate.
Taking employee off furlough template

Agreeing flexible furlough with employee template

Designating employee as flexible furloughed template

Agreeing extended full furlough with employee template

As indicated in my last digest the scheme is now very complex. You should do all you can to ensure you have achieved compliance with the rules and documented everything you can in the correct manner. These letters may help to do so and should be kept for a minimum of 5 years for potential audit purposes. 
Bear in mind that although it should be in writing, it can be done electronically, and there are multiple low cost or free trial e-signing software packages available to help you to achieve this without the need for any breach of the social distancing rules in phase 2 if it simplifies matters. 

And Finally

Just when we receive the news that the return to practice can commence in earnest on Monday I simultaneously received the update that the parking charges in the city of Edinburgh at our office will also return on Monday! I’m assuming that the same will be true in most other areas and therefore if the new patient journey was challenging enough already you might need to let your patients know that when they turn up for their emergency treatments they need to remember to ‘feed’ the meter otherwise you may not be able to relieve all their pains in the appointment!….. 
From all at Dental Accountants Scotland we wish you well with your preparation and re-opening and to those already open we hope you are coping ok. The phased recovery will be a challenge, but we are with you every step of the way and happy to help in any way possible. 
Once again love and best wishes to you at this time from myself and the full Dental Accountants Scotland team. I hope you manage to stay safe and well.

As a recurring reminder – our full team are now working remotely but ready and willing to continue to do all we can to support you in any way possible. Please accept my ongoing apology for any delayed reply to your emails while we work harder than ever to support you during this crisis. The level of correspondence required has severely tested my words per minute typing skills!
For any urgent queries you may have please continue to call my mobile 07375 700468 (day or night) or book a zoom online consultation here and I will be glad to support you in anyway. Our no fee advice is available to you at this time and we will do all we can as part of your team.
I invite you to keep up to date with information our blog and to like our Facebook page to stay in touch. 

Stay safe and look after yourself and all around you at this difficult time.

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