25th March 2020

The decision to close dental practices came from the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) citing the need to protect the NHS and PPE resources.

 

26th March 2020

The Coronavirus Act 2020 came into effect, which gave the Secretary of State the power to close businesses to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Under S4 and Schedule 2, part 1, the Coronavirus Act lists the businesses that must close during the emergency period. This did not include the closure of dental practices. Dental services were specifically excluded from closing.

 

11th May 2020

The CDO stated that: “All dental guidance and Standard Operating Procedures currently in force remain unchanged. The temporary cessation of routine dentistry addresses the safety of patients and of dental teams as well as supporting the public health measures required to slow community transmission of COVID-19.”

 

21st May 2020

The GDC has said the following (21 May 2020) about professional judgement and regulation:

Expert advice on the clinical aspects of COVID-19 will continue to come from the health authorities of the four nations and we will continue to signpost to this guidance as and when it is updated. But that guidance will inevitably not cover every potential scenario, and therefore, dental professionals will need to continue exercising their professional judgement and weigh the risks in any given situation (our emphasis). They will also need to continue to assess whether they are trained, competent and indemnified to carry out the activity in question.

However, in the recent joint statement from the healthcare regulators we said that we understand that in highly challenging circumstances, professionals may need to depart from

Standard Operating Procedures_v2_10062020

established procedures to care for patients and that should concerns be raised, relevant environmental and human factors would be taken into account.

*As regards practice-level regulation, the CQC (for example) has said on 19 May 2020:

The decision to offer dental care services is one for the provider to take. Alongside guidance given by Public Health England (PHE) and the General Dental Council (GDC), CQC encourage dental providers to give proper consideration to the communications from the Chief Dental Officer (CDO) regardless of whether their practice is NHS, private, or mixed.

CQC cannot require providers of dental care services to close, unless we find clear evidence of a breach of our regulations that requires consideration of the use of our powers under the Health and Social Care Act 2008 and associated regulations.

As part of our regulatory function we will assess the extent to which providers are providing an appropriate level of safety within the context of our regulations. In doing so we will refer to prevailing guidance, not limited to but including guidance from PHE, the CDO and GDC to help us reach a judgement on the extent to which

the service currently being provided complies with our Regulations.

We have also considered FGDP (UK) Standards in Dentistry in general, and sections 1.7 and 1.8 in particular, regarding the responsibility of dentists to remain abreast of minimum standards for safe practice, in the interests of patients.

We believe that following this guidance, taken together with the considerations set out above, can provide a sound basis for a safe return to general dental practice across the UK.

 

28th May 2020

The Government announced that dental clinics can see patients face to face as from the 1st June 2020

 

1st June 2020

The FDGP released a document called, ‘Implications of COVID-19 for the safe management of general dental practice A practical guide’ Following the announcement that dentist can see patients face to face again from the 8th June 2020 we have worked incredibly hard to keep our patients’ and team safe. We are constantly monitoring our processes and systems and always looking for way to provide a service where patients feel safe. The past year has seen a significant amount of new technology that allows us to reduce face to face contact which of course helps reduce the risk of spreading Coronavirus.

During the past six-months or so and as guidance has been updated we have been seeing patients for general dental care as well as dental emergencies. That said, we are very conscious of patients that are considered clinically vulnerable and as such have implemented a system to ensure we are managing each, individual patient’s risk based on their health and age.

In simple terms, if you have been told to shield and have an underlying health condition, we would recommend that, unless you have a dental emergency, you ‘sit tight’ for now regarding any routine dental care. In the event a patient considered clinically vulnerable but needs to see a dentist urgently, we can see you and will discuss your options when you call.

Prior to your dental appointment you will receive a sequence of links, either by email or text message.

Pre-Appointment Questionnaire: This questionnaire will prompt you to answer questions related to COVID-19 – we actually refer to this as a COVID-19 risk assessment.

In the event that a question is answered negatively, we receive a message and will contact the patient immediately to reschedule any pending appointments

Medical History: Unlike pre-COVID, we unable to ask you to complete your medical history questionnaire in the waiting room. This electronic version allows you to update your information prior to your appointment to ensure we have the most recent date related to your current health condition.

Patient Details: This form allows you to update your personal details if relevant, maybe you have moved home or changed your contact number – you will be able to let us know by completing or amending and submitting.

Oral Health Survey: This form concentrates on your oral health and how you feel about your teeth and gums. The information you provide really helps us know how to help you. It is a little longer than the other questionnaires so maybe make a cuppa before you start.

Contact Consent: This is related to GDPR and data protection – we like to keep our patients informed with what is going on at the clinic however, we understand some patients would prefer not to receive this information. This form gives you the opportunity to let us know your preference.

All questionnaires we receive are automatically saved in your dental record for future reference.

**where a patient does not have an email address or mobile number, we will verbally update the information we have for you and carry out a risk assessment over the telephone.

The questions we will ask are:

    • Are you waiting for a COVID-19 test or test results?
    • If you or anyone in your household, or anyone in your support bubble have, or have had, possible COVID-19, are you still in the self/household isolation period? If you, anyone in your household, or anyone in your support bubble have tested positive for COVID-19, are you still in the self/household isolation period?
    • If you entered or returned to the UK in the last 14 days, are you required to self-isolate?
    • If you have been notified by NHS Test and Trace that you’ve been in contact with a person with COVID-19, are you still in the isolation period?
    • Do you, anyone in your household, or anyone in your support bubble have any symptoms of COVID-19 – including:
      • a high temperature – 37.8°C or over
      • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
      • a loss or change in normal sense of smell or taste

In the event that you do not feel well on the day of your appointment please contact us to rearrange for an alternative day and time. Your will not be penalized for any late cancelation appointment during this time

When you arrive at the clinic:

    • Face Mask: Please ensure you are wearing a mask – if you do not have a mask or left your mask at home, please telephone reception in advance and we will provide you with a new mask before your enter the building.
    • Ring The Bell: Please ring the doorbell when you arrive – we have put some external chairs outside for patient to take a seat while you are waiting. It can get very busy and we would ask you to bear with us. We can hear the bell and will be with you as soon as possible.
    • Entering The Building: A member of the team will greet you at the door and invite you in. You will be asked:
      • to sanitize your hands and
      • Stand Infront of the scanner that will take your temperature
        • The scanner is our very own ‘Track & Trace’ and allows us to monitor who is in the building at anyone time within the minute.
    • Waiting Room
      • We now have two separate areas for patients to wait in. Appointments are being booked for longer than normal to avoid having too many patients in the building at once. Due to the amount of dental emergencies we have been seeing, we cannot always guarantee you will not be kept waiting however, we are constantly monitoring this and making adjustments where necessary to appointment times.
    • Ready for your appointment
      • Your nurse will come and collect you from the waiting area (in the event you have had to wait).
      • As best we can, given our historic listed building, we have implemented a one way system within the clinic.
      • On entering the clinical area, you will be asked to put all of your personal possessions in a box, and the lid will be sealed throughout the duration of your appointment.
      • You will be asked to leave your mask on whilst talking to your dentist and this will only be removed once the dentist is ready to look in your mouth.
      • If you are having treatment where an aerosol will be used the dental team will don full enhanced personal protective equipment (PPE) using our internal procedure for donning and doffing PPE
      • Once your appointment is complete – you will be asked to replace your mask, take your personal processions and your nurse will escort you from the practice.
      • In the event you need to pay for treatment, she will escort you to the reception area allowing you to settle your account.
      • In most cases payments will be taken in advance of your appointment to avoid any additional face to face contact.

We are constantly monitoring our system and where necessary, we will amend them to protect you, our patients and our team.

All of our team have now had the COVID-19 vaccination (first one)

Dental page last reviewed: March 4, 2021. Next review due: Sept 2021