Coronavirus, advice

PRACTICE UPDATE 10/09/20

We are pleased to be able to start the next phase of the gradual reintroduction of dental services. We have been working hard to prepare the practice to provide AGP dental treatment. 

What is AGP? 
 
It means Aerosol Generating Procedure. This includes any dental treatment that uses a drill or a scaler. These instruments are used for the vast majority of dental procedures and they produce a fine water spray.
 
Why does AGP matter?
 
The fine mist created can linger in the air for some time and is believed to be a significant risk for the spread of Coronavirus by both UK and World Health Authorities.
 
What does this mean for dental practices?
 
The impact of this on dental practices is probably more significant than on any other workplace or healthcare setting. The vast majority of our daily work is AGP. To do these procedures our staff have to wear high level PPE and following an AGP treatment a room must be left fallow (unused) for 1 hour to allow the mist to settle before it can be cleaned. This has a huge impact on the capacity we can offer. An appointment for a simple filling that would usually take 30 minutes will now require almost 2 hours of surgery time in total.
 
What treatment can I now have?
 
The return of AGP treatments means we can now provide permanent fillings and root fillings. The severe limits on our capacity means that we can only offer these treatments when deemed necessary. As before every case will be assessed by telephone in advance by one of our dentists. We must stress that routine non-essential dentistry has still not returned. Our priority remains to offer care to those who need it urgently. Where we have the capacity we will also start to complete treatments started before lockdown – we will contact patients when possible to arrange this.
 
Can I have a check-up?
 
At this time routine check-ups are not available. However if you have any problems then please contact the practice as normal and we will be able to assist you and offer any appointments that may be necessary. 
 
We kindly ask that you do not call the practice to book any appointments for routine check-ups as we are not able to book these yet. If you feel you have a dental emergency, please contact the practice and we will do our best to help.

We have developed a new patient journey for those patients who attend the practice, meaning things may be slightly different to normal -

*The front door is currently locked – please knock to let us know you are here

*Please attend alone

*Please arrive as close before your appointment time as you possibly can and do not be late

*Please wear a face covering

*Do not bring unnecessary bags and coats with you

*You will be met by a staff member who will already be wearing a mask, gloves and visor

*You will be asked to sanitise your hands

*If you are accompanying a child or adult who is unable to attend alone then please wear a face covering.

*If an NHS charge is due then you will be asked to pay this in advance over the phone to reduce contact with our reception staff
 
Once again, we can’t thank you enough for your patience and understanding during this time.

We look forward to seeing you all again soon.

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PRACTICE UPDATE 27/7/20

Although our practices are open we will continue to operate a locked door policy. Contact with patients will primarily be by telephone; after speaking with you, if the dentist feels you need to be seen he will arrange an appointment at a time specifically set aside for you and provide you with information on the new rules for attendance and what to expect in surgery.   If you have a dental emergency please telephone as early as possible, our phone lines open at 9am. The number of patients we are able to see during a day is now greatly reduced and we do not expect to be seeing routine examinations for quite some time.  Over the coming months we will be aiming to provide pain relief for those patients who have a problem and have been unable to see a dentist since March, we will also be looking at those patients who were undergoing treatment when we had to close and whether this is something that can now be completed.

Please do not attend the practice without an appointment.

For assistance outside our normal working hours NHS 111 is available and calls to this number are free from both landlines and mobiles.

Please be assured that all our new operating procedures are in line with the current medical guidance and, although it is disruptive, is for the safety of our patients and staff.

Thank you for your patience and cooperation.

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UPDATE 08/06/20

Dear Patient:

We hope this letter finds you and your family in good health.

You may have heard that dental practices can open to routine care from Monday 8 June.

Our practice will be opening on that day but we just wanted to be clear that this may not be business as usual. The treatments you are offered may be different to those you received before, depending on staff and equipment available. It will take some time before services return to what you previously experienced as normal. Please be patient.

Our community has been through a lot over the last few months, and all of us are looking forward to resuming our normal habits and routines. While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your safety.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and you may have seen this during your visits to our surgery. Our infection control processes are made so that when you receive care, it’s both safe and comfortable. We want to tell you about the infection control procedures we follow in our practice to keep patients and staff safe.

Our practice follows infection control guidelines made by the governing bodies. We are up-to-date on new guidance that has been issued. We do this to make sure that our infection control procedures are current and adhere to recommendations.

You may see some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We made these changes to help protect our patients and 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
  • 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 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’re 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, patients should come alone
  • A distance of at least 2 metres must be observed if another patient is present in the dental practice
  • Payment should be made by card where possible
  • 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
  • Please do not arrive without an appointment
  • Patients should come wearing a mask if possible or be prepared to wear one.

Sincerely,

Saf Khan and Team

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UPDATE 29/05/20

In the daily coronavirus briefing of 28/05/20, the Prime Minister said that dental practices would be able to open as of 08/06/20.  Unfortunately, the return to "normal" care is some way off.  The Chief Dental Officer (CDO) for England has advised a gradual and phased return.  The difficulties we have with reopening is that there is little to no guidance on how we can return to work practically and safely. There is also the limited availability of appropriate PPE.

Over the coming weeks and months, we will be looking into what we can do to expand our available dental care services, whilst ensuring the health and safety of our patients and staff.  We are determined to support patients who need urgent care as soon and as quickly as possible, and that will be our initial priority.  We hope for some clearer information and guidance soon from the relevant authorities.

Please only contact the surgery if you have a dental problem, as urgent care is still available subject to phone triage. Please do not call to arrange routine check-up appointments until further notice.

We will continue to update our website and facebook pages as more information becomes available.

Once again, we thank you all for your understanding in these uprecidented circumstances.

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UPDATE 28/5/20

As most people will be aware, some workplaces and businesses are taking tentative steps towards reopening.

We regret to inform you that the dentist and dental technicians are not amongst those returning to work at this time.

The nature of the work carried out by dentists involves using water equipment in your mouth generating an aerosol of fine mist.  This mist and any virus particles in it remain airborne for several minutes, possibly hours, before settling on surfces over a broad area around the source.

Dentistry, therefore, carries an extremely high risk of transmission and so we remain unavailable for face to face appointments, until such a time that the govenment advises otherwise.

We are open for telephone triage in case of a dental emergency but treatment is limited to advice, pain relief and antibiotics as necessary.  Once these avenues have been exhausted, it may be possible to refer you to a local emergency hub, where limited face-to-face treatment can be carried out.

Your health and safety are paramount to us along with that of our staff and dentist's; we are therefore, busy preparing for the time when we will reopen however, this will mean changes for patients accessing care and the way that we work.

In the meantime, we thank you all for your patience and ask that you do not try to attend the practice or contact us to book routine appointments.  This will help keep everyone safe and the phone lines free to deal with emergencies.

As the situation evolves, we will endeavour to keep our patients up to date with any changes.

EMERGENCY ADVICE IS AVAILABLE DURING NORMAL OPENING HOURS PLEASE TELEPHONE: 01226 718345 

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POSTPONING ROUTINE APPOINTMENTS

All routine appointments have been suspended from Tuesday 24th March 2020 to keep within the current government advice.  If you have a routine appointment booked and if you have not already, you can expect to hear from us shortly to postpone your appointmet to a later date.  We will be monitoring the guidance during this period and we will be in contact if we need to postpone appointments from April onwards.  Please do not attend the surgery.

Don't worry; you will not miss out on any of the dental care you need.  Once we are able  to get back to operating normally, we will be making sure that we are available to catch up on any postponed appointments.

 

Advice to patients with a dental emergency:

During these unprecidented times we are unable to provide the normal care that patients are used to. During normal working hours we will provide advice to patients over the phone - please telephone 01226 718345 and where necessary provide care in the form of prescriptions for analgesics and antibiotics. Please do not attend the practice.

Outside of normal hours if you have an urgent dental problem, please consider if this could wait until the following day, rather than accessing the out of hours services. If the problem is extremely severe please contact the out of hours service through NHS 111.

If your dental problem includes uncontrolled bleeding and a swelling that is causing breathing problems this is an emergency and you should go to A&E.

Our patients are really important to us - we are here to help in any way we can.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

The NHS in South Yorkshire and Public Health England (PHE) are well prepared for outbreaks of new infectious diseases.  The NHS has put in place measures to ensure the safety of all patients and NHS staff while also ensuring services are available to the public as normal.

The latest information on symptoms of coronavirus infection and areas where recent travel may have resulted in a high risk of exposure can be found on nhs.uk/conditions/coronaviruscovid-19/

NHS 111 has an online coronavirus service that can tell you if you need medical help and advise you what to do.

Use this service if:

  • you think you might have coronavirus
  • in the last 14 days you've been to a country or an area with a high risk of coronavirus
  • you've been in close contact with someone with coronavirus.

Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.

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