Sunday 22 March 2020
It is with a very heavy heart that I write to inform you that we now have no alternative but to reduce the clinical face-to-face service we offer.
It has become apparent over the past few days that healthcare teams, and especially those who are exposed to patient’s saliva, breath and mucous are particularly at greater risk of catching a large dose of coronavirus from a patient, who may not even have any symptoms, and then suffer with a very severe COVID-19 infection.
Please be assured that we are still here for you. You will still be able to contact us on the telephone and you will be able to talk to us. We will then be able to assess and address your concerns in the most appropriate way.
To be clear, we will not be able to see any patients for regular examinations or planned treatment.
If you are looking to register with us, we will still take your details and give you information on the services that we offer as well as important preventative advice.
We will contact you to cancel your appointment and ensure that you do not get lost in the system. We have put plans in place to ensure that we know what care each patient needs. Your next appointment will be made once we have comprehensive guidance on when and how it is safe to do so.
Should you have any further questions please do not hesitate to get in touch. We will respond to each query but please bear in mind that we are experiencing a high volume of calls and emails at this time.
If need more Duraphat toothpaste, please contact us as we will repeat the prescription and send some to you. Similarly, if you need any oral hygiene products, get in touch and we’ll send it to you.
If you have not visited this page on our website before, please continue to read below for further information.
Please stay safe and well, take social distancing very seriously and if you are in the risk groups, be even more careful.
With very best wishes to you all,
To protect our patients and staff, and especially our more elderly and infirm patients, we ask that you do not attend if you have any cold or flu-like symptoms including a new cough, fever (a temperature of over 37.8 degrees), headache or malaise. We also understand that many of you will have concerns over venturing out and putting yourself at risk. With this in mind, we would like to reassure you of precautions that we are taking to keep your risk of catching corona virus as low as possible:
- Please do not attend if you suspect you have COVID-19 or any cold or flu-like symptoms. If you have a dental emergency, please contact us via telephone or email for urgent advice and to arrange appropriate care.
- On arrival at Waterside you can stay in your car and we will come out for you once we are ready to take you direct to your treatment room. We will ask you to either wash your hands or use an alcohol hand rub as you enter the practice. We have removed reading literature from the reception area.
- Thanks to our carefully designed set up and working practices, we are able to keep rooms free from clutter, and clean down between each patient (as we always do). This makes it easier for us to keep a very high standard of cross-infection control.
- If you use the bathroom, please let us know so that it can be cleaned between each use.
- Please consider using contactless methods of payment; we can bring the card machine to you in the treatment room and will disinfect it between each use if you do need to enter your PIN.
- Our standard use of dental dam wherever possible reduces the chances of spraying potentially virus-containing saliva into the air, but now our guidance is to avoid using aerosol-generating procedures unless it is absolutely necessary in emergency-only situations, and only for patients who are not suspected to have corona virus. This is because the dose of virus that can be transmitted in this setting can be high, which puts the team at a greater risk of contracting corona virus, and having a more severe illness.
With all of the above in mind, we understand that you may well choose to postpone your more regular appointments and this is the only sensible thing to do if you are in an at risk group (please see below a list of people considered to be at higher risk). We would be grateful for as much notice as you can give us. We usually have a cancellation policy where we ask for 48 hours’ notice, but this will not apply during this period and you will not be charged if you have to cancel at short notice due to corona virus concerns. It is likely that we will soon be asked not to provide routine dental treatment which is not considered urgent, to reduce the number of people venturing out. Please rest assured that we will still be taking calls and responding to your queries, offering a remote advice service and we will be aiming to see patients without any signs of COVID-19 illness who require an urgent examination for a dental emergency.
We can still carry out remote consultations for patients looking to embark on more comprehensive treatment, or provide support for patients with more complex maintenance needs. For example, patients with a high susceptibility to periodontal disease, or those with multiple dental implants.
If you need urgent emergency treatment and have been told to self-isolate, please still get in touch and we will help make the necessary arrangements.
Once we are advised that we can return to our normal working practices, we are planning to put on extra clinical sessions to clear treatment backlogs as soon as possible.
At risk patients are those who have one or more of the following:
- Aged 70 or over
- Chronic (long-term) respiratory diseases, such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) , emphysema or bronchitis
- Chronic heart disease, such as heart failure
- Chronic kidney disease
- Chronic liver disease, such as hepatitis
- Chronic neurological conditions, such as Parkinson’s disease, motor neurone disease, multiple sclerosis (MS), a learning disability or cerebral palsy
- Problems with your spleen – for example, sickle cell disease or if you have had your spleen removed
- A weakened immune system as the result of conditions such as HIV or AIDS, or medicines such as steroid tablets or chemotherapy
- Being seriously overweight (a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above)
- Those who are pregnant
You may be at particularly high risk of getting seriously ill with corona virus if you:
- Have had an organ transplant and are taking immunosuppressant medicine
- Are having chemotherapy or radiotherapy
- Have blood or bone marrow cancer, such as leukaemia
- Have a severe chest condition, such as cystic fibrosis or severe asthma
- Have another serious health condition
Please note that if you are 70 or over and/or are in the high risk group, you should be seriously considering isolating yourself to reduce the risk of contracting corona virus when the infection rate is high, as the resources to treat every person with a serious COVID-19 infection will be incredibly stretched.
Please be very careful where you obtain the information which will aid the decision making processes for you and your family. Do not rely on social media for this. Useful and trusted websites include:
https://www/nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/ for health information and advice.
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events-coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response to learn about the government’s response to coronavirus.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news for news reporting using a high level of professional journalism.
If you have any further queries please do not hesitate to get in touch.
We wish you and your family the best of health and well-being over the next few weeks and months.