The Colne Dental Care Post-COVID-19 Re-opening Policy
Dear Colne Dental Care patients,
22/06/2020 We hope all of our patients and families are safe and well. We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your patience and kind words.
As government restrictions begin to ease we hope to continue to increase capacity within the surgery. We are still required to adopt a 'one in one out policy' to maintain social distancing within the practice and as such we would ask that if you need to contact us please telephone the surgery and do not come to the practice.
We have begun to contact patients who had appointments postponed due to lockdown to reschedule their appointments. The order in which we contact patients is dependent on the type of procedures that they need as we are still limited as to when we can carry out procedures which generate aerosols (using the water drills).
While many things have changed, our commitment to your care and safety has not. During lockdown we are very proud that we still provided care for almost a hundred patients with acute dental needs.
If you have a dental problem please contact us at the practice where we will be happy to help you.
We look forward to seeing you soon.
09/06/2020 IMPORTANT UPDATE - We are pleased to say that the practice has begun to re-open. We have access to all of the necessary PPE, and procedures are in place to enable us to see and treat patients safely. However, as the COVID-19 alert level remains at Level 4: 'Severe' the guidance is that at the present time we are only able to see patients needing emergency treatment. If you have a dental problem please contact the practice where we will be happy to help you.
If your appointment was cancelled during the lockdown we will be in touch as soon as possible to rearrange this.
If you have an upcoming appointment we will be in touch to confirm or to rearrange as necessary.
We hope you and your families are safe and well and look forward to seeing you soon.
03/06/2020 IMPORTANT UPDATE - Although the Government has indicated practices will open on 8th June 2020, the COVID-19 alert level in the UK remains at Level 4: 'Severe'. Due to this, Dental Practices will only be seeing dental emergencies via appointment at this time. Currently, we are unable to see patients for routine appointments. This situation will be reviewed as the severity level changes in the future. Updates regarding our service will be updated here as they occur. We thank you for your patience.
We would like to thank you for your patience during these unprecedented, challenging times.
Following the governments surprise announcement last week that dental practices can reopen from the 8th of June we wanted to provide our patients with an update and give you some more information about changes at the practice.
We have been working extremely hard to support all of our patients throughout this crisis with their dental emergencies and we will continue to do this.
This policy has been created based on multiple updated sources from within the dental and medical professions and the government. It outlines modifications to our normal procedures that we intend to employ once the practice can be reopened after the COVID-19 pandemic peak has subsided.
It is not known at this time whether these procedures are temporary or whether they will become a permanent feature of the way dental practices must be run to ensure patient and staff safety in the future. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is still being evaluated and studied and policies and recommendations are likely to change in line with new scientific evidence over time.
We would like to thank all of our patients for their patience and understanding during the period of temporary practice closure and for their understanding and cooperation whilst we implement new measures at the practice. We will of course, as always, be providing dental care to all our patients in the safest possible environment. We greatly appreciate your assistance with any new or modified procedures at the practice.
It is our intention for the practice to re-open for patients on Monday 8st June 2020 unless an extension to the current lockdown is mandated by the government or professional bodies. The Colne Dental Care team will prepare the practice for reopening and practising our updated procedures before patients return to the practice.
We will be prioritising:
- In the first week patients with emergency problems or other dental problems that require urgent assessment and treatment, including those that contacted us during lockdown that we could not see face to face ;
Following a phased approach we will see:
- Patients with treatment that was incomplete before the practice was temporarily closed;
- Patients who were due for routine examinations during the period of closure;
- Followed by routine appointments
Patient communication before reopening
If you have an existing appointment in the near future, booked before the pandemic, we will contact you to either re arrange or confirm this appointment. It is likely we will have to defer routine appointments to aid the phased approach to re opening dental practices as we await government advice.
We will request that all patients update their Medical History with the reception staff at the time of the phone call. As always, this will be absolutely confidential. The dentist will then confirm your medical history at your appointment.
During this phone call we will also ask you some Covid 19 screening questions to assess your current health and shielding status.
New measures at Colne Dental Care to reduce risk of COVID-19 transmission
We are determined to keep our patients safe, our team safe and to provide the same high quality dentistry that you have all been used to.
We have always provided extremely high standards of cross infection control and we are determined to continue this to keep everyone safe.
It should be remembered that a dental practice is a very clean environment especially compared to other public places and there is no evidence of Covid -19 transmission occurring in increased rates in dentists and their staff.
We have collectively evaluated all of the updated guidance and observed what measures have been put in place in other countries. We feel that the following measures will reduce any risk to the minimum level at the practice. Please be assured that all of our clinical staff will also be complying with these procedures.
Before attending the practice
· We would recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from coronavirus delay non-essential dental treatment for as long as possible until the trend of the pandemic becomes clear. To find out whether you are in a high or very high-risk group please see the link below:
· If you are in a high risk group and do require treatment we will schedule your appointment at the beginning of the day to limit your potential exposure to other patients.
· When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We will meet all patients outside the building and bring them straight into the surgery. One adult is able to attend with a child; please do not bring additional family members with you unless they are happy to wait in the car or outside the building.
· We ask where possible, that you have already visited the lavatory at home, have ensured that you are hydrated and have already brushed your teeth to minimise possible sources of disease transmission.
Arriving at the practice
· We intend to eliminate waiting inside the practice and at reception. Accordingly, appointments will be staggered so that patients do not arrive or leave at the same time as other patients as far as we are able to manage.
· Where possible we will ask you to wait in your car and will call your mobile phone you when it is time to attend your appointment. If you do not have a mobile phone we ask you attend at the time of your appointment and not before to prevent waiting in communal areas as much as possible
· Where possible we ask you bring a limited number of items to your appointment. We will ask you to leave your belongings in the waiting area to prevent them entering the surgery.
· If you are well, we would direct you straight to the surgery and request that you do the following before or during your appointment:
· Use the hand sanitiser in the hallway
· We may ask you to use a Hydrogen Peroxide mouthwash before some dental treatments are provided
· If it is necessary to use the bathroom, please speak to a member of staff. Please do your best to ensure that you leave the facilities as you would expect to find them and wash your hand thoroughly. The restrooms will be regularly disinfected between patients.
· To minimise patients in the reception area, at the end of your appointment should you require a further appointment, we ask that you do not to go back into reception. We will call you later to make these arrangements. We will also be operating contactless payment systems going forwards, and we would request that payment is made via bank transfer or over the phone for your appointment prior to you attending. This can also be completed after appointments where unforeseen treatments are carried out. This reduces the requirement for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception.
• The Colne Dental Care team have spent time critically looking at every aspect of the practice with a view to removing all non-essential items. You will find that the practice may appear to be quite bare when you attend.
· All clinical and common areas including door handles and surfaces will be regularly disinfected in addition to our normal surface cleaning protocols between patients.
· Colne Dental Care will be providing a buffer period between patients to allow additional time for additional decontamination procedures, allow for any treatment overruns and allow preparation time for the next patient so that they do not need to wait in the reception area. This will of course limit the amount of appointments we can allocate initially but we have your safety in mind.
· All future appointments will be made and confirmed by email or telephone to limit your time spent at reception.
· All dental staff will be using personal protective equipment in line with current recommendations and evidence. We apologise in advance for the necessary reduction in social interaction that this will necessitate. We may have to wear larger respirator masks for water procedures. Whilst our masks may make us appear impersonal and distant, please be assured we are still the same friendly team underneath it all!
· We are especially mindful that many dental treatments are aerosol-generating procedures (AGP’s). These are treatments that involve water sprays. It is difficult for us to carry out some dental procedures without generation of some level of aerosol. Aerosol suspended in the air is a theoretical source of infection which we obviously wish to keep to a minimum. To achieve this surgeries will have to be left vacant for up to 1 hour after an aerosol generating procedure has taken place. As you can imagine this will have a large impact on the delivery of services at the practice for the near future. It is anticipated that all dental practices will not introduce routine AGP procedures immediately but will be phased into our planning at a later date.
The vast majority of our patients are otherwise healthy without coronavirus infection and we are confident that we are able to provide normal dental care for these patients in as normal an environment as possible while bearing in mind our responsibilities to mitigate risks of infection spread as far as is practically possible.
This policy will be constantly reviewed and updated as necessitated by circumstances over time.
Once again we are incredibly grateful for your patience and understanding during these unprecedented times and we look forward to seeing you all again as soon as possible.
The Colne Dental Care Team