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NHS leaders tell GPs and dentists to keep self-isolation rules despite relaxation

NHS leaders have told GPs and dentists to continue following self-isolation guidance in practices despite the government lifting these restrictions.

Under new rules which came into force on August 16, people who share a household with someone who has contracted Covid-19 are no longer required to self-isolate if they are double vaccinated, under 18 and have no symptoms. 

But according to a report by the i paper, dentists, GPs and pharmacists have been ordered to keep the previous restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Covid.

In a letter to primary health care providers in England, NHS Improvement and NHS England wrote: “Until further notice, the existing Covid-19 Infection Protection and Control (IPC) guidance continues to apply in healthcare settings.

“All primary care contractors should continue to follow this guidance.”

Dental and GP unions claim that the move is forcing surgeries to cancel patients’ appointments if someone in their household has contracted Covid, but stressed that surgeries needed to make decisions based on the potential risk of the virus to patients and practitioners. 

Doctors’ union BMA’s GP committee chairman Dr Richard Vautrey said: “Managing this risk is especially important as Covid-19 infection levels remain high in the community, with average daily hospitalisations and deaths also rising. 

“Many people coming in to GP practices are already very unwell, and should not be exposed to what is still a deadly virus if it is avoidable.”

But dentists’ union BDA chairman Eddie Crouch said the new rules for dental care are “complex and confusing.” 

“Dentists and patients need to know whether there is a need to continue with policies that have halved access to dental services.”

The policy change prompted mixed responses earlier this month, with some infectious disease experts warning that it could lead to further hospitalisations and deaths. 

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