UPDATE 3RD June 2020
We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health.
You may have heard that dental practices CAN open for routine care from Monday 8 June “where practices assess that they have the necessary Infection Control and PPE requirements in place”.
Background: – the profession had heard nothing from the Chief Dental Officer for almost a month and most commentators were suggesting we might return on 4th July. The first we knew of the 8th June date was in the ticker tape feed at the bottom of the television screen underneath the Prime Minister’s daily Coronavirus briefing last Thursday.
We have still had no official guidelines / standard operating procedures on what measures we need to have in place in order to reopen.
We HAVE had guidelines from the Faculty of General Dental Practice and the British Dental Association yesterday. The FGDP guidelines run to 66 pages of “things to consider”. We are working incredibly hard to translate this into Standard Operating Procedures that will ensure your safety as far as humanly possible, minimising contacts with staff and other patients, enhanced cleaning regimes between patients, etc. We are still at level 4 of this Coronavirus epidemic, social distancing is still the norm, and we have to work with this situation. We are also still waiting for some PPE to arrive.
Once we are happy everything is in place, we will then need staff training in the new ways of working.
We anticipate being in a position to reopen around 15th June but we just wanted to be clear that this will not be business as usual. It will take some time before services return to what you previously experienced as normal. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety. Our initial priority will be to sort out the dental problems which have occurred during lockdown and we are already aware of. We will then be working incredibly hard to catch up on the backlog of routine examinations and finishing courses of treatment which had been underway before lockdown. Until then, we, of course, continue to offer telephone advice for any dental problem you currently have. Staff are available to answer telephone queries between 9.00 and 12.30.
You will see changes when it is time for your next appointment. We are making these changes to help protect you and our staff. For example:
- Our practice will communicate with you beforehand to ask some screening questions. You’ll be asked those same questions again at your appointment in case any changes have occurred.
- We have hand sanitiser that we will ask you to use when you enter the practice. You will also find some in the reception area and other places in the practice for you to use as needed.
- We may take your temperature on arrival at the practice.
- We will no longer offer magazines, children’s toys and so forth, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect
- Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean that you are offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
We will do our best to allow greater time between patients to reduce waiting times for you, as well as to reduce the number of patients in the reception area at any one time.
How you can help:
- With the exception of children and patients with carers, you should come alone for your appointments.
- A distance of at least 2 metres must be observed between yourself and others including our staff where possible.
- Payment should be made by card where possible and you may be asked to pay by phone ahead of your appointment.
- Staff will not shake your hand
- If you show symptoms following appointment booking, you should contact the practice by phone
- Please do not arrive early to the practice. If necessary, you should wait outside the practice or if travelling by car, stay in your vehicle we will phone you to advise you that we are ready for you.
- Please do not arrive without an appointment.
- Patients should come wearing a mask if possible or be prepared to wear one.
- Please use the toilet before you leave home. The patient toilet at the practice will not be routinely available for use.
The above restrictions will be lifted as soon as the Coronavirus risk level allows and, hopefully, we will return to normal. We look forward to seeing you again as soon as we can.
Mike and Team
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