Dentists open: When are dentists going to reopen in UK?
The Government has announced further loosening of lockdown restrictions today, with restrictions on meeting people lifted slightly but social distancing measures still strictly in place. As the number of cases in the UK continues to fall, the Government is looking hopefully toward returning to normal life.
The UK’s R Value has continued to sit below one – somewhere between 0.7 and one – according to the Chief Medical Officer and the Prime Minister at Thursday evening’s press briefing.
Alongside retail premises, dental practices have been given the green light to open doors again after being closed to all but emergency patients throughout the coronavirus crisis.
“A return of high street dentistry will be welcome news to millions of patients left with few options during lockdown,” says Mick Armstrong, chair of the British Dental Association.
“Dentists will be keen to start providing care as soon as safely possible, but we will need everyone to be patient as practices get up and running.”
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When will dentists reopen?
Dentists will be permitted to reopen from June 8, although it won’t be straight back to business just yet.
Not all dentists will open on this date, and there is likely to be some variation between NHS and private practices.
Dentists have been able to give emergency treatment throughout the coronavirus lockdown.
Full ranges of treatments won’t be available, but routine care will, according to the British Dental Association.
Aerosol generating procedures will not be able to take place yet, with one dentist saying “Whilst I can’t wait to get back to work and to help patients, it is very important that the public understands that we are NOT allowed perform aerosol generating procedures.
“We need AGP for absolutely every treatment.
“So when we reopen we will only be able to perform examinations on patients.”
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Martin Woodrow, Chief Executive of the BDA said: “We welcome the news, while also noting the caveat that availability and fitting of PPE, social distancing measures and appropriate cross-infection control may mean practices will have to move at different rates.
“We have also warned that the whole business model that the service is based on could change unalterably upon reopening, with social distancing and cross-infection control reducing capacity and potentially access levels by as much as two thirds.
He called for the Government to continue and to open up support for practices who will be financially impacted by the reduction in patient numbers.
“We are continuing to press for the NHS contractual framework to reflect the new reality and for additional support for private dentistry, including a business rates holiday – already offered to leisure and retail sectors – to be expanded to dental practices, alongside other support to mitigate against reduced patient numbers.”
The nature of the job makes dentistry an already sterile and strict job to work in – decontamination and equipment cleaning are already part of the package.
However, dentists will have to wear full medical-grade PPE when treating patients.
So that unnecessary contact is kept to a minimum, appointments will be scheduled over the phone or online only.
There will also be a 30-minute turnaround time for decontamination between appointments, The Telegraph reports.
Waiting rooms will also have to be reconsidered: magazines, TV remotes and toys will likely be removed, with chairs two metres apart, although patients may be encouraged to wait outside as with other indoor spaces.
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