For details on Coranavirus/Covid 19, please read the news section for latest updates on the practice.
As of yet, there is no firm date for us to reopen. I currently have remote access to the server at work, and I have arranged for all calls to the practice to be re routed to my emergency mobile phone. You can contact me every day 9am to 5pm for advice and help, either by ringing the practice number, or ringing the mobile phone direct with the number given in the previous news items. Please do not to ring to cancel appointments. We are cancelling appointments bit by bit and putting everyone on the short notice list so we can rebook everyone when we re open.
When we re open, details will be placed in this news section. We are likely to not be able to see more than 7 or 8 people a day initially due to even more strict cross infection controls. We may also, along with most practices, not be able to carry out any aerosol generating procedures, ie using a high speed drill, the ultrasonic to scale teeth and polishing teeth. To do this, we will need to be wearing specialised masks that are currently in very short supply as every country needs them. Hopefully, manufacture of these will ramp up and become more readily available and cheaper. Each mask is currently worth around £16 each and we would need two for each appointment,dentist and nurse, if we could get them.It would also be necessary to leave the surgery `fallow` after use for at least 30 minutes to allow particles to settle before a full deep clean. In practice, this could mean the surgery might not be useable again for an hour, so it is likely we would use both surgeries alternately to keep the workflow going.
We intend to make the patient journey as contactless as possible. We would need you to be on time but not early, check in with reception from the corridor or by phone, exact details to be worked out, and wait outside or in your car until called. The aim would be to come in to the surgery and only go to reception if you have a bill to pay. We intend to get disposable covers for the card machine and clinipad to avoid any chance of cross infection. We would need to have you wash your hands or use handrub before entering the surgery, supervised by the nurse. We would also ideally need to take your temperature and ensure you do not have Covid 19. If you had a temperature,continuous cough or fever, or sudden loss of taste or smell, we would ask you to self isolate as recommended and ideally arrange for a test. You could then be rebooked for when you are well.
We would initially want to prioritise appointments to emergencies, people with known outstanding problems and people with outstanding courses of treatment. We would hopefully pretty quickly be able to start rebooking exam appointments, but hygiene appointments are likely to take a little longer to set up. We would like to set aside appointments first thing in the morning to anyone shielding or is in a vulnerable group who needs attention. At this point please let us know. We would also like to treat family units together wherever possible, as this would speed up our ability to see people, as we would only need to deep clean at the end of all their appointments.
We expect initially that many people will not be comfortable attending, and that it will take time for everyone to regain their confidence. That is only to be expected, but if you cannot make an appointment, it will be important to phone and let us know as soon as possible. With a limited number of appointments a day, it will be an absolute priority not to waste them, so that we can get someone else in to use the time.
This is our best guess as to how things will restart in dentistry. It is likely to be quite fluid initially as we find our feet in the new world, and things may change from what I have outlined above. This is based on much reading, Webinars, advice from the British Dental Association and from Public Health England. Some or all of this could change, and until Standard operating procedures are published, and a date for reopening given, nothing is certain. A lot is based on SOP for urgent dental centres currently running. Please be patient, we are all struggling at this unprecedented time and doing our best. When I know more I will let you know. Keep safe.