Summary of updates published on website
23rd June: At the Government briefing, Chief Medical Officer Professor Whitty noted that: “Dentistry is particularly high risk, because dental work generates a lot of droplets. Dentists have found a way of working in this phase, which will go on for really quite a prolonged period”.
18th June: Thames Water has now resumed supply following the burst water main on Tuesday so the temporary closure has ended.
12th June: we will gradually increase the number of appointments available from Monday 15th June. However we are still constrained by the lack of PPE and have been let down by suppliers. The need to close for an hour after any active treatment remains a major challenge, both to poviding a clinical service and financial viability.
10th June: The British Dental Association have warned that “Barely 8% of practices now estimate they can maintain their financial sustainability longer term, in the face of sky high overheads and lower patient numbers.” Harwell Dental Practice is operating at a loss due to the coronavirus constraints.
6th June: It appears that Harwell Dental practice will one of a minority of practices opening on 8th June, albeit offering only limited emergency treatment.
Priority will be given to our own patients. Unlike some practices, we will not be surcharging Practice Plan patients for the massive increase in PPE costs due to Covid-19 in the initial period.
5th June: BBC: Coronavirus: No return to ‘business as usual’ for dentists https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-52913826
The government issue Covid Alert Levels (1 to 5). The recommendation is that for safety, dentistry should be severely limited at the higher risk levels (4 & 5). Today is rated level 4.
4th June: The Chief Dental Officer published an operating protocol document on Thursday afternoon, to be enacted on Monday 8th June. The initial expectation is for an emergency-only service until PPE is available to support routine operative treatment.
29th May: Dentists had been anticipating resuming clinical services in July but on 28th May it was announced on television that re-opening could commence in 6 working days time on 8th June. The Chief Dental Officer informed dentists after the media had publicised the date. There is a nationwide shortage of PPE and there appears to be no government plan to get necessary supplies to dentists before the opening date. No PPE will severely restrict what treatments can be provided.
When we do re-open, dentistry will be very different as a result of coronavirus. Health & safety and PPE will be paramount and may limit clinical options and raise costs. Risk control measures like social distancing will be essential; like shops, we will limit the number of people in the building and minimise facilities to reduce contamination hazards. The front door is likely to be locked and patients only admitted individually at the time of their appointment.
28th May: an un-named official acting for the Chief Dental Officer published “Prompt to prepare” documents (actually dated 19th May) regarding re-opening of dental practices but without any proposed date. 6 hours later a leak to the BBC suggested 8th June; we await official confirmation.
11th May: The Prime Minister’s broadcast yesterday did not cover dentistry. We await a directive from the Chief Dental Officer for a safe operating protocol for the resumption of clinical services, so to date, nothing has changed. For example, a patient carrying coronavirus but without symptoms will have billions of virus particles in their mouth and saliva so using a moving instrument in this environment (particularly with compressed air or water spray) will spread the virus widely to the detriment of staff and other patients. We cannot operate until there are means of avoiding this risk.
In the meantime face-to-face appointments are postponed, but telephone advice continues to be available with emergency treatment via urgent care centres.
4th May: The Government’s 3 week extension to the lockdown announced on 17th April is due for review this week, hopefully before the Bank Holiday weekend. For the time being we remain closed for face-to-face consultations and all appointments are postponed until the directives are updated.
21st April: NHS England are devising a new route to access Urgent Dental Care Centres using the same online system as referrals to hospital waiting lists.
25th March: The Chief Dental Officer issues a directive telling dentists to stop providing face-to-face clinical treatment