INFORMATION ABOUT THE RESUMPTION OF FACE TO FACE DENTISTRY:
On the 28th May the Prime Minister announced that Dental Practices could reopen on June 8th, taking my whole profession and the organisations that govern us by surprise. We found out at exactly the same time as the public, when the little banner underneath Boris rolled across the TV screen, saying Practices will re-open on 8th June.
Since we were ordered by the Chief Dental Officer for England, to stop seeing and treating patients on 23rd March, my team have been providing telephone advice to patients. Every day a dentist goes into our Practice to triage patients over the phone issuing advice, analgesics and antibiotics.
Urgent Dental Care Hubs have been set up in the area, and dentists can refer patients requiring urgent treatment to these hubs, where patients are treated using the necessary enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Whilst not what any of us are used to, this system is working.
The day before Boris’ announcement, we received a letter from the Chief Dental Officer for England about the ongoing arrangements; it gave no indication that the reopening of Dental Practices would be happening imminently.
Only a matter of weeks ago Dental Practices were asked to give their remaining PPE away to Front Line Centres such as hospitals and care homes etc. Dental Practices have to buy their own PPE, it is not provided by the NHS, but despite being hit financially from the enforced closure, we happily donated all of our remaining PPE.
At this point we did not restock this PPE, because we did not want to stock pile PPE potentially for months when the hospitals etc needed it now. All of us thought that the arrangement with the Urgent Dental Care Hubs would continue for the foreseeable future.
Knowing that Practices had donated their PPE and that new procedures would need to be developed and implemented to see Patients again in Practices, we thought that we would be given adequate notice about any reopening; in the end we were only given 6 working days notice.
Despite ordering the necessary enhanced PPE it has not arrived in time for the 8th June. With every Practice in the country ordering this specialist equipment, suppliers have been unable to meet demand. The vast majority of Dental Practices will not reopen on 8th June because like us, their PPE has not arrived on time. We expect that our PPE will arrive early next week, but we have our fingers crossed that it will come sooner because we can’t wait to get back to work.
On top of the PPE problems, the Chief Dental Officer did not issue the new guidelines that Practices now have to abide by until Thursday 4th June, and then sent new ones on Friday afternoon, leaving us the weekend to learn them, train our team and implement them, an impossible task.
This situation is incredibly frustrating for all of us, but is outside of our control; we want nothing more than to get back to seeing and treating patients. But we have to put the safety of our patients and team members first, so unfortunately we cannot resume face to face Dentistry until our enhanced PPE arrives.
In the mean time our team will be spending their time learning and implementing the new guidelines.
WE WILL CONTINUE TO TRIAGE OUR PATIENTS VIA TELEPHONE SO PLEASE DO NOT HESITATE TO CALL US IF YOU ARE HAVING ANY DENTAL PROBLEMS:
Victoria Road 01429 861327
Northgate 01429 222707
Owton Manor 01429 265471
This is an unprecedented time for all of us and whilst we are looking forward to welcoming you back into our Practices, we would ask for your patience and understanding whilst we await our enhanced PPE and implement our new operating procedures.
Later this week I will give you more information about what to expect when you visit our Practices in the coming months.