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Your Vital Signs report is now available via the NHS  Dental Portal. To access your latest Vital Signs Report; (May 2013)

  • Login to the NHS  Dental Portal
  • Click on the reports tab
  • Select the report type either General or Orthodontic Vital Signs
  • Select the financial year 2012/2013
  • Select the financial period Quarter 4
  • Select the appropriate Contract number
  • The report will be available to select at the bottom of the screen

If you have any questions please contact the NHS  Dental Services Helpdesk on 0300 330 1348 or email




27th April 2012 Performing Rights Licence Fee

The BDA have now taken legal advice on this subject and the advice to practitioners is as follows:

It is important to understand that this European Court of Justice (ECJ)
judgment is not applicable in English law until our national courts
have applied it. Subject to that, we would be surprised if an identical
set of facts as that described in the ECJ's judgment would result in a
different outcome in the English courts.
However, Dentists have, for some time now, paid fees to collecting
societies for the music they have played in their surgeries. The
implication is therefore that dentists accept, in making such payments,
that they are in fact playing music to the public. Accordingly,
performers and the collecting societies would argue that, as this ECJ
judgment is not applicable in English law until our national courts
have applied it, these fees remain payable.    
On that basis, our advice is that Dentists should continue to pay
licence fees until this ECJ judgment is tested in the English courts.
However, as we have indicated above, we believe that a test case would
most likely result in the English Courts agreeing that Dentists playing
music in their surgeries in radio broadcasts (and possibly by other
means such as CD, mp3 player, etc) were not communicating music to the
public and therefore did not need to pay fees to a collecting society.
We would therefore suggest that the BDA consider whether it would wish
to bring such a test case on behalf of its members.

The BDA is now considering whether to bring such a test case. I will
keep you informed of any developments.


   May 2013       


The H&S Team have been getting a lot of member queries on the new safer sharps regulations, so I thought it might be useful to give you guys an update of the what this means in practice – just in case you get asked about this on your travels.

The new regulations state that you must use ‘safer sharps’ where it is ‘reasonably practicable’ to do so. Every practice is entitled to establish what is reasonably practicable. If they can show that it is not reasonably practicable for safer sharps to be used, then traditional unprotected sharps still can be used in conjunction with suitable procedures for safe use (needle blocks etc) and disposal. 

However, the decision not to use safer sharps cannot be justified because a dentist has done their own risk assessment which shows that the continued use of traditional, unprotected sharps is safe. Even if this is the case it’s pretty irrelevant because it doesn’t mean that the use of ‘safer sharps’ would not be safe.

In reality, for a practice to justify not using safer sharps they would have to conclude that the use of safer sharps is not reasonably practicable because they would actually introduce a risk, for example:

  • the safer sharp would compromise patient care;
  • the safer sharp is not reliable;
  • the dentist, hygienist or therapist would not be able to maintain appropriate control over the procedure;
  • the use of the safer sharp would introduce other safety hazards or sources of blood exposure;
  • the safety mechanism design is not suitable for the application

It’s up to each dentist to decide if the reasons outlined above actually exist (the BDA can’t tell them whether this would be the case or not, or send them a policy/protocol that does this). My own view is that it is now a lot more difficult for a practice to conclude that the use of safer sharps is not reasonably practicable. Cost can be taken into account when deciding if a switch to safer sharps is reasonably practicable – however the additional cost would have to be ‘grossly disproportionate’ to the reduction in risk for this to be a valid reason.

I hope this helps, but if you have any questions about this do let me know. If you want to point members in the right direct then we have advice on this on the BDA homepage in the ‘In focus’ section.

Many thanks,


Daniel McAlonan

Head of Health & Safety

British Dental Association

DD:     020 7535 5875

Tel:     020 7563 4572

Post:   64 Wimpole Street, London W1G 8YS  


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