Covid 19 update 14th October
Following the announcement in the press and social media on Monday 12th October regarding the resuming of NHS Dental Care in Scottish Dental Practices, with special reference to the STV news announcement, we wish to clarify and explain the announcement and guidance.
The Scottish government announced that the full range of NHS services would be returning to Scottish Dental Practices on the 1st November.
As per previous announcements, with regards to the reintroduction of NHS services, Dentists sadly found this out first through the public social media feeds and press announcements, rather than through our professional and regulatory bodies before the announcements.
In fact, we were finally advised of the fact there would be a return towards NHS services in practice on the 1st November a day AFTER the public announcement by way of a letter from the Chief Dental Officer.
We expect you as a patient, and us as a dental team have numerous questions as to how, when and to what extent NHS services will resume.
There is, as yet, no guidance at all as to what specific services will be allowed, or in what way they will be phased back, however, we expect further updates over the next few weeks as to how we can start reintroducing NHS services.
We had, until Monday, been advised NHS services would not return to practice until the transmission rate was reduced, and that there would be an adequate supply of PPE provided by NHS to treat our NHS patients. There would be a gradual phased approach to NHS services, however, NHS Dentistry would not return to the level it was pre-lockdown.
The public health minister, Mr Fitzpatrick, has announced there will be a return of a FULL SERVICE of NHS dentistry, however, our Chief Dental Officer has advised, after the press release, that it is ‘not business as usual’, quoting from his letter on the 12th October.
Our British Dental Association has responded;
‘’Despite the re-opening, Mr Fitzpatrick said the sector will not return to “business as usual” as practices still need to limit the number of patients, they see due to the ongoing spread of the virus.
But by making available a full range of treatments for NHS patients, dentists and dental teams will be able to provide a wider range of NHS care, prioritised by clinical judgment and in line with wider public health protection measures.’’
We therefore have to await guidance from our professional bodies as to how we can reintroduce NHS services, how we can provide this care, and how Scottish dentists can reintroduce the NHS services is still to be seen. However it is clear we will still be limited in the number of NHS patients we can see daily.
On average, our Dentists pre-lockdown would each have seen on 30-40 patients per day, with in excess of 100 patients per day coming through our doors.
Currently, with social distancing measures, and fallow time, most dentists will be averaging 10-15 patients per day for non aerosol generating treatment, of that only around 4 patients able to be seen for treatment that requires the use of an aerosol (drill/scaler).
How we will be expected to return to previous levels of NHS patient numbers, provide the care our patients deserve and the team are passionate to provide, ensure social distancing measures, ensure the priority of patient and staff safety, and still keep the practices financially viable, we are still to be informed.
Until we receive more information from the government on how this NHS care is to be provided unfortunately we will not be able to make appointments. When we are able to make these appointments we will update you again.
At this time to maintain our own social distancing in practice our staff are dealing with a high volume of patients calling to make appointments that as explained above we cannot do at this time.
We appreciate your patience in allowing us and all other NHS practices in Scotland to get the answers to how we can provide sustainable and safe dental care to our patients.
Broxburn Dental Practice