• Date

    17 Jul 2020
  • Category

Support for the Dental sector during COVID-19

Outlined in this insight are details of the support available for the dental sector during COVID-19 and an update on the extensions, where applicable, of the schemes available.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS)

From 1 July 2020 a much more relaxed, flexible scheme is available. The following are important to note:

  • ‘Flexi-furlough’ applies solely to staff who were placed on furlough no later than 10 June 2020 for a minimum period of 3 weeks.
  • Any member of staff previously furloughed, returning to work after 10 June and returned to furlough before 30 June will need to remain on furlough for a minimum 3-week period.
  • The maximum number of staff subject to flexi-furlough cannot exceed the maximum on furlough before 30 June.
  • e.g. you have a total of 8 staff but at any one time a maximum of 5 have been on furlough at the same time. From 1 July the maximum staff you can claim the grant for will be 5.
  • A new parent returning from maternity leave after 10 June 2020 can be furloughed as an exception to the rule discussed above.
  • e.g. the above maximum would increase by 1 to 6.
  • You should communicate changes with all staff and seek the support of a HR consultant or employment law solicitor if required.

NHS Practices will be expected to continue to pay designated NHS employees and self-employed staff at the same rate.


Self Employed Income Support Scheme (SEISS)

You can claim if you are a self-employed individual or a member of a partnership. All the following criteria apply: 

  • Your business was active in the 2018/2019 tax year.
  • Your 2019 Self Assessment tax return was filed with HMRC on or before 23 April 2020.
  • Your business was active in the 2019/2020 tax year.
  • You intend to continue to trade in the 2020/2021 tax year.
  • Your business has been adversely affected by COVID-19.

In early May 2020, you were able to check online with HMRC whether you were eligible for a grant. This grant paid up to £2,500 per month for three months (maximum £7,500), based on 80% of average taxable profits for the three years; 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.
 
Applications under this scheme for the first grant should have been made by 13 July 2020.
 
The scheme has now been extended however and applications for a second grant for newly affected businesses and those that continue to be adversely affected after 14 July 2020 can be claimed from 17 August.
 
This grant paid up to £2,187.50 per month for three months (maximum £6,562.50), based on 70% of average taxable profits for the three years; 2016/2017, 2017/2018 and 2018/2019.


July 2020 Instalments

Statements have been issued in recent weeks by HMRC confirming the deferral to 31 January 2021.
 
It is important to note that:

  • Deferral is only intended to benefit those individuals who are adversely affected and do not have the funds to pay the July instalment as usual.
  • This is not clear on the statements issued by HMRC, which have been issued on the assumption of deferral being required.
  • Statements do not include details of any balancing payment due for 2019/2020 and the first instalment for 2020/2021. All of which will be due on 31 January 2021.

If you are concerned about paying your tax due to coronavirus, you can call HMRC’s helpline for help and advice: 0800 0159 559.


Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) & Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS)

These government backed loans are proving to be popular and many of the initial delays in processing applications have been overcome by the banks involved. There remain delays, however.
 
We would strongly recommend speaking to a member of our Banking and Finance team about your requirements.


Back to business - Where are we now?

Outlined below are the most recent updates across the UK.

England

Dental practices were asked to re-open for face-to-face care on 8 June with progression towards a resumption of the full range of routine dental care, including AGPs. Any progression is to be ‘risk managed’ by individual practices.
 
The transition to recovery may prove costly in terms of reduced capacity, PPE and staffing issues.

Northern Ireland

We saw movement on the key issue of access to central PPE supplies for dental practices, with the Minister indicating that the Department will issue £800k-£1m worth of PPE to support dental practices on entering Phase 2. This large consignment of Level 1 PPE for GDPs will include Type IIr masks, visors, gloves and aprons - almost 3 million items in total. The Business Services Organisation will begin deliveries to dental practices in the next 10-14 days (as at 2 July), in proportion to a practice’s Health Service commitment.
 
Pressure on the NI Health Minister to acknowledge the need for adequate financial support for the profession continues.

Scotland

Phase 3 of the dental remobilisation plan can start from Monday 13 July, with NHS dental contractors able to see patients for non-aerosol routine care. All NHS practices are expected to be open and operating under phase 2, as a minimum, by 31 July 2020.
 
This is not however business as usual with no expectation of any substantial increase in activity. Subject to social distancing, more patients will be seen than under Phase 2 and additional PPE will be supplied to NHS Practices.
 
At present all NHS patients in need of AGPs should continue to be referred to an urgent dental care centre.
 
The current Phase 2 financial support measures are being maintained. In addition, the General Dental Practice Allowance (GDPA) is being increased by 30 per cent to help with the additional costs of running a Practice. The GDPA cap will also increase.
 
The Scottish Government intends to issue a revised Statement of Dental Remuneration (SDR) with a covering memorandum from Monday 13 July.
 
By way of compare and contrast, private practitioners are able to offer AGPs, subject to prior submission of revised risk assessments and operating procedures to Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

Wales

From 1 July 2020, practices will receive 90% of their contract value. This will then move up to 100%, potentially from September. In return for this 90% of contract value, practices will work within the scope of the de-escalation plans, at present in the amber phase, and work through the back-log of patients as best as possible on a prioritisation of needs basis.
 
Practices can be in heightened amber and only offering non-AGPs or be in low amber and be offering AGPs as well, as long as they are set up and signed off by the relevant authority.
 
Patient numbers remain a serious concern for practices and the COVID crisis impacts business viability.


We are here to help 

If you require more information on the support available, or would like to arrange a call, please get in touch with our dental expert, Vanessa Pople, or your usual Azets contact.

Please also refer to our insights page for further information, which is regularly updated with the latest news, insight and details of the economic support and measures as they are announced by our Government.

About the author

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Vanessa Pople

Partner Bicester
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