Message NBCDH May 12, 2020
In following with the previous message sent on May 9, 2020, this email is to provide additional information to our registrants.
As you may recall, on Friday, May 8, 2020, the NB Premier, the honourable Blaine Higgs, announced during his press conference that “Health care businesses with services provided by regulated health professionals are now allowed to provide non-emergency health services in-person and shall comply with additional guidance specific to their profession provided by their regulating body.”
Although the Premier indicated that dentistry has been moved ahead into phase 2, the NBCDH council strongly believes that dental hygiene care remains a non-essential service and should continue to be considered in the high-risk category keeping in mind the nature of our work and the use of aerosols.
For the time being, there will be no change to the current status for dental hygiene care until the NBCDH has completed its directives and have given the effective start date. Dental hygiene services continue to be suspended. The NBCDH will advise registrants when dental hygiene services will return, and which dental hygiene services will be offered.
The NBCDH agrees with the NBDS that dental hygiene must be part of a phased-in approach to the NB Recovery Plan and oral health care. The NBCDH council conducted a full review of the presented Operational plan by the NBDS on Sunday afternoon. The NBCDH council identified various concerns over some aspects of the plan and it was determined that the NBCDH would not be adopting this operational plan for our registrants. We do recognize that some content in the NBDS’ operational plan directives may be in line with our efforts in protecting the public and our registrants. However, the Council members agreed that additional information pertaining to the profession of dental hygiene needed to be addressed.
We take the opportunity to state that although the NBDS may have stated a potential return date to reopen dental hygiene services, this date has not been yet confirmed by the NBCDH as an official date for the reopening of dental hygiene services. The NBCDH, the regulatory authority for the profession of dental hygiene will make that final call when the time is deemed appropriate. In the Premier’s message, it is clear that all directives must come from the Regulatory authority for the profession and not from employers.
We understand that some may want the directives today. It is important to recognize that the unanticipated notice from the Premier has caused some delays in having the directives completed and please know that we will expedite our efforts in completing these. However, it is also important that the College take the time necessary to ensure that nothing is omitted and that things are clear when establishing these directives. The council is continuing its work with other dental hygiene regulators to provide our own directives/guidelines. We are striving to provide these to all our registrants within the next few weeks.
While we continue the development of our directives for our return to practise, we are adding the following links to the NB Government websites that pertain to the opening of business and some directives from public health measures (https://www2.gnb.ca/content/dam/gnb/Departments/eco-bce/Promo/covid-19/guidance-ph-measures.pdf) and WorkSafe NB (https://www.worksafenb.ca/media/61016/embracing-the-new-normal.pdf). It is just as important for you to familiarize yourself with the Government of NB’s general directives.
Danielle Bordage, NBCDH President
Diane Thériault, Executive Director/Registrar