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FGDP responds to CODE’s request for comment on High-Risk AGEs at Alert Level 3

Last week CODE reported that following the UK’s COVID-19 Alert Level being lowered to Level 3 we were aware that some practices may have returned to full service (All AGPs / High-risk AGEs) due to their interpretation of page 30 of the FGDP guidance which states:

‘High risk exposure (AGE) should be avoided whenever possible during a high alert level (4/5) unless a risk assessment indicates that a low-risk stabilisation or delay would be detrimental to the patient’s oral or systemic health or well-being. In such circumstances, careful documentation of the risk assessment is important, including justification of the decision for high AGE risk.’

We highlighted that this paragraph could indicate that since the alert level has dropped to 3 all high-risk AGEs are now allowable without risk assessment and therefore full service can resume. However, this was in stark contrast to the rest of the FGDP guidance which uses levels 3-5 as high alert and therefore may have been an inadvertent error.

CODE has been in contact with the FGDP who have now confirmed that it would be “clearer” if in the paragraph mentioned above, it stated that high risk exposure (AGE) should be avoided whenever possible during a “high alert level 3/5” as opposed to “level 4/5”. The FGDP have confirmed that they will look to update this when they next revise the guidance.

In light of this confirmation from the FGDP, we would advise all members to avoid high risk AGEs wherever possible unless clinical risk assessment, on a patient by patient basis, indicates that one is necessary.