Urgent care or dental emergency? FAQs
13th August 2023
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We’ve all been wondering what the lifting of restrictions on Monday 19th July means to us. Even though the welcomed move to Stage 4 on the roadmap to recovery is four weeks later than was planned, it is still expected to increase people’s exposure to Covid-19. It’s possible because of the vaccination programme.
Guidance at first emphasised taking personal responsibility. Yet, over the last few days, different organisations have spoken up. “Freedom Day” cannot be a free for all – there are some places where we must expect to have to take precautions to protect others.
At the dentists, “Hands – Face – Space” will still be with us, which is a good thing.
Eddie Crouch, Chair of the British Dental Association said: “These guidelines are in place to protect patients and staff. When visiting a dentist face coverings, social distancing and hand washing remain fundamentals not optional extras. Wider changes that take place on Monday will have no impact on how the public should approach accessing our services.”
As we embrace doing the things we’ve missed we’ll probably feel as though we’re nearly back to normal. Most activities that have been restricted are social – something we choose to do. Whether it’s going to a concert, sitting inside a pub, or meeting up with people in their homes – we’ve made a choice.
But attending a health care provider is most often a necessity.
Except for cosmetic and elective treatments, dental care is a matter of need. Most of our patients come to our practices for essential care. It’s usually pain, fear of developing pain or discomfort that brings patients to us.
Our patients have no choice but to leave home to visit their dentist. Some are vulnerable, others may not have the protection of being double vaccinated. Yet they need to be treated in a safe environment. This is why our teams are trained and re-trained to keep up with new thinking about infection prevention and control (IPC). It is our duty to keep everyone as safe as we possibly can.
Because we want our patients and staff to stay safe, we continue to rigorously implement enhanced IPC protocols and follow Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedures.
We will continue to ask patients to follow the same requirements for hands, face and space as before. Moreover, our staff will continue to explain the procedures patients must follow before, during and after an appointment. Access to practices is still by prior arrangement only, and numbers are controlled.
We expect it will seem strange to be able to mix freely in social venues yet feel limited at the dentist. However, we must continue to follow protocols until instructed otherwise.
We thank you for your understanding.
Hopefully, there will be some easing up of the current SOPs in the future, to help improve access to care, but that’s not for practices to decide. We await updated protocols from Public Health England (PHE). There is, as yet, no change.
Vaccinations are significantly preventing fatalities and hospitalisation and as uptake continues, so will the benefits. Analysis from PHE and the University of Cambridge indicates vaccines have already prevented 8,500,000 infections and 30,000 deaths in England.
Our government continues to urge people to take up the offer of vaccinations because, with even just one dose of either Oxford-Astra-Zeneca of Pfizer BioNTech, there’s 80% less chance of being hospitalised with the Delta variant. With a double dose, it’s 98%. So encourage family and friends to protect themselves with vaccinations.
Health Minister Jo Churchill added: “Face coverings have played an important role in healthcare settings, helping protect vulnerable patients, staff and visitors by limiting the spread of this deadly disease and this guidance remains in place.
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