- Published: Tuesday, 17 March 2020 21:32
- Written by News Editor
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The BDA wrote yesterday to Sara Hurley Chief Dental Officer for England, saying their members are desperate, asking what they should do in the absence of official advice over COVID-19. Separately CDO Wales, Colette Bridgman, wrote to dentists in Wales and the GDC chief executive issued an update.
In a letter[i], to Sara Hurley the BDA chairman, Mick Armstrong, Charlotte Waite, Chair of English Community Dental Services Committee and David Cottam, Chair of the General Dental Practice Committee said dentists were angry and frustrated. “They and their teams are being left to cope in the current frightening situation without the benefit of clear official advice”.
They continued: “Members are desperate, asking what they should do in the absence of official advice. Dentists are concerned about the safety of patients and dental professionals when so little is known about COVID-19 contamination. Dentists are also understandably deeply worried about the impact of the pandemic on their businesses, whether providing NHS or private care or both. There needs to be urgent leadership and clarification for a profession that is simply frightened and angry.”
In a letter[ii] to all Primary Care Dental Teams in Wales, the CDO Colette Bridgman told them they needed to take action to protect the public and dental teams and move to AMBER dental alert, explaining what theis means for dental teams in Wales. Dental Services are affected and some/all routine care is no longer possible. From now on:
- Dental teams need to establish if a patient who has a booked appointment is a potentially infective case prior to any the visit by phone or text or on Use clearly visible and bilingual instructions at entrance.
- Given the potential risk of asymptomatic cases attending in this delay phase it seems sensible and necessary at this time to reduce exposure of staff and patients to infection by avoiding all aerosol generating procedures wherever
- Reduce the number of routine check-ups by cancelling patients from vulnerable groups (and offer cancellation to anyone else who wishes to do so) to reduce the need to travel and have close contact with others in waiting rooms and surgeries.This will also conserve supplies of PPE for urgent care and free up capacity for urgent and necessary care that cannot be delayed.
- Provide released capacity to treat urgent dental problems (on those who are well and/or in time who have recovered) and provide care that cannot be delayed.
- Use robust IC procedures, wiping down surfaces between patients with extravigilance to include door handles etc.
Monitoring and UDA targets will be relaxed or suspended as confirmed. Details of how this will operate will be confirmed later this week. Continue to submit FP17W and collect PCR as appropriate for the patients you do see.
Ian Brack, Chief Executive and Registrar of the GDC, issued an update[iii] on the COVID-19 pandemic, saying their main objective during the period was to ensure our people (GDC employees) were kept safe and that everyone in the dental profession is aware of, and understands, the latest advice.
He continued: “We are very aware that the situation is very fluid at present, however we wanted to remind you that our position and advice is that you continue to follow the latest NHS and government guidance. Specifically, this advises that if you have any symptoms of the coronavirus infection, however mild, and you live on your own, you should stay at home for 7 days from when your symptoms started. If you live with others, all household members must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days.”
The GDC Chair has made the decision to cancel the public session of the Council meeting that was due to take place on Thursday 19 March in Birmingham. One of their staff in our London offices has been off work with coronavirus symptoms, and they made the decision to close the offices on Tuesday 17 March and undertake a full deep clean. “We don’t believe there is any immediate cause for concern, but felt it was prudent to take precautions,” h
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