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We were very surprised yesterday to hear that dental surgeries were going to be allowed to open on the 8th June. We had no pre warning at all and the first I heard of it was from my next door neighbour! We had heard a rumour it would be the 15th but nothing more was said.
We are as I write this, stripping the surgeries out of all pictures, posters etc and trying to reduce everything to the minimum we have to have. When we reopen it will be a new experience for us and for you. I will be very shortly be creating a web page on then patient journey through the practice, to give you an idea of how different it will be. We have a lot of PPE I have been purchasing to allow us to work, but fillings etc that generate an aerosol, will require a different expensive type of disposable mask that are very hard to find, as the NHS has successfully hoovered them all up. Hopefully I can source some so we can fill teeth. Initially we will have to cancel and rebook everyone! We have to allow extra time either side of exams for decontaminating the surgery, and if we carry out an filling, we have to allow 30-60 minutes for the aerosol to disperse before we can clean, then deep clean before we can reuse the surgery, creating a logistical nightmare. If we can see half the normal people in the same time, we will be lucky. There will be no airconditioning allowed and we will be well wrapped up in two layers, masks and visors as well so it will be pretty onerous to start. We are going to start slowly to allow us to keep our systems in check, and get used to our new world. Please be patient. Don`t ring the practice unless you have an urgent problem that cannot wait. The more people who ring in, the slower reception will be in contacting you all, so that we can rebook you.
I have PPE turning up all the time, and we have three days of Webinars on the 1st to 3rd June, to help us prepare for the return to work. I have 3 Radic8 air purifiers turning up in July, one for each surgery, and one for reception/waiting room. These will filter the air and destroy all viruses, bacteria and any chemicals and pollen in the air, making our surgeries even safer, and hopefully increasing the speed we can re use our surgeries and increase the time we have for appointments. This has increased our costs by many thousands of pounds and I would like to thank all Denplan patients for allowing the surgery to carry on, as we have had no help from the government to date at all.
As I said, please be patient. I know many of you are frustrated at cancelled appointments and missed treatment, but nowhere near as much as us. I hope as time goes on and more is known about the virus, we can modify how we work, and hopefully speed things up to see more people, but there is no guarantee we will get a working vaccine, although I hope and pray we will. There is little likelihood that it will ever be eradicated, but hopefully with better management and control, we will eventually we will be able to move towards a better future