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CoVid 19 Update – 31st October 2020

Dentistry has always been safe, remains safe AND we have a clear understanding of the measures we need to have in place to safely see our patients for all dental treatments, including very essential dental checkups and hygienist visits, during this pandemic.


Millions of patients around the world have safely visited their dentists in the past few months for the full range of dental services and with the correct PPE and infection prevention measures in place, dental care should continue to be provided.


As the prime minister has said, “the overrunning of the NHS would be a medical and a moral disaster” – let us not add dental emergencies to the burden of the NHS.

Previous CoVid-19 Updates

CoVid 19 Update – 29th June 2020

I’m hopefully getting to the end of these updates now as we start to look at the future and how the practice can accelerate its return to work.


For the last 4 weeks, a core team of Vicki (the practice manager) Emily, (the assistant Manager), Andy, and myself have been providing the first ‘face to face’ dental care allowed since practices were instructed to close on March 25th. During this time we have been overwhelmed by the support of those patients we have been able to provide treatment for. This phase 1 of our return has been successful in that the backlog of problems our patients have suffered that we know about has largely been dealt with.


We are however more than aware that many routine appointments were cancelled during the lockdown period, and it is now time for us to start honouring those. Therefore, we will be entering the next phase of our planned return next week (6th July). This is Phase 2 of our planned return.


Patients who had routine examinations booked in March, April and May will now be able to have these remade. We have full details of who is due and who had to be cancelled, but we are also happy for you to give us a call to arrange your appointment. Over the next 10 days we will be contacting those patients who had to be cancelled in March and April to remake their appointments. We are relying heavily on our computer systems for this information, However, if for some reason that hasn’t picked you up after 10 days, please do not hesitate to call us in order to make your appointment. We are more than happy to discuss this by email as well if that is more convenient.


The same is also true of those of our patients who have outstanding treatment to be completed. These appointments can also now be remade, but we have to take into account the rules regarding ‘fallow’ periods. What this means is that certain procedures such as fillings and crowns need an enforced time after the procedure when the treatment room is left empty to allow any theoretical risk from airborne particles to settle. As a result of this ‘Fallow’ period, the output of the practice is significantly reduced as the surgery cannot be used for up to an Hour afterwards.


In order to cope with the expected backlog that 3 months of lockdown has caused, and also to reduce the effect of the ‘fallow’ period, we have temporarily changed our opening hours to take this into account. We will now be open between from 8:30am and 7:30pm on Mondays to Thursdays, and 8:30am and 2pm on Fridays. We are having to operate a shift pattern with the dental teams, and it may mean that your dentist is not necessarily available at the times you need them; however we will still always endeavour to book you in with your usual dentist.


The situation with providing our hygiene service is currently still a little unclear. Most routine hygiene appointments require the use of aerosols, and this means that the number of appointments available is significantly reduced due to the fallow period needed afterwards. We will however be able to provide hand scaling. This is far more tiring for the hygienist, resulting in significant hand fatigue, and this therefore means these appointments need to be longer. We will be introducing the hygiene service as Phase 3 when we have fully assessed how Phase 2 of the return has been. I am hopeful that we shall be able to begin this phase before the end of July if not before. To a degree, will be bound by the rules concerning fallow for some time yet, but are hopeful the length of fallow needed will be reduced as CoVid-19 becomes less prevalent in the community. We will also in future be splitting the Hygiene visits from the Examination visit (i.e. not necessarily making them follow on from one another on the same day) due to the way that our appointment books will have to be structured.


As ever, many thanks for bearing with us during the last few months. All of us at the practice realise just how challenging it has been for all our patients, families, and friends. I am glad that there is now light at the end of the tunnel, and we can start getting back to looking after our patients fully once more.

Patient Update CoVid19 – 15th June 2020

Further to my video update on the Website and Facebook, I thought I’d update those of you who didn’t see it with another of my emails.


We’ve now been reopened just over a week, but with a very restricted skeleton team due to the amount of treatment we can actually provide at the moment due to social distancing in the waiting areas, and something called “Fallow Time’ that the ‘Powers-that-be’ have recommended.


Fallow time is basically a period of time after some dental procedures that the treatment room has to be left empty to allow any aerosol to settle before it is then cleaned. This is currently set at 1 hour, so immediately has an impact on the number of our surgeries that can be in use at any one time. In addition, although our levels of cross-infection control were already very high, the cleaning down after such a procedure now takes approximately 10-15 minutes as well. If we add this to the need to keep our teams and our patients socially distanced, it still means that we are not able to operate at our usual capacity. At the moment we are at about 20% of our usual capacity, but this is gradually going to increase as the lockdown restrictions are eased.


We have also increased the level of PPE that we have to wear, and this has increased our costs significantly, especially when looked at per patient per visit. The highest level of PPE worn for what were routine procedures before Covid19 has risen from about £2 per patient to over £40 for the same treatment. Coupled with the increased fallow time when a surgery cannot be used means our overheads have risen dramatically. Some dental practices have therefore introduced a separate charge for the PPE.


I want to take this opportunity to reassure our regular Practiceplan patients that we have NO PLANS at the moment to introduce a charge for the extra PPE now needed, and the increased time taken. I am hopeful that the extra level of PPE needed with gradually reduce back to a relatively normal level fairly swiftly. It is our way of saying thank you for your continued loyalty in remaining a member of the Practice throughout the lock down.


However, we are looking ahead in our treatment books, and are hoping that all our patients with routine examination assessments in July will be able to keep these as normal. We will also very shortly be starting to rebook those patients who we had to cancel in March and April into July as well. We will also be working through the cancellation lists in order to make sure we get on top of any outstanding treatment as quickly as possible.


There are still fairly significant limitations placed on treatment that involve the production of Aerosols. One of the main treatments that we provide that produce aerosols is the routine hygiene appointment. In initially we will only be able to provide these by hand instrumentation. This causes a significant amount of hand-fatigue on our hygienists, and as a result I am increase the rest time between patients for them to recover. This means that hygiene appointments will no longer be synchronised with the assessment and examination appointments as it will be impossible to do this. Please do not be concerned however, as you will still receive the treatment that you have pre-paid on your plans, but I have to take into consideration all the aspects of the care we no provide, and how we provide it in a safe manner for both patients and staff alike.


We are currently working on the rotas to enable more of our team to return to work in order to reduce this backlog of treatment and examinations that has inevitably built up in the practice. All dental practices are experiencing the same issues, and please rest assured we are prioritising care appropriately. We have been inundated with calls from new patients and those from other practices, but want to reassure you all that our priorities will be with our loyal patients at this time. One aspect of this is that whilst we still aim to keep your appointments with your usual dentist, due to the likely shift patterns and appointment availability with each of us, it may mean you have to consider being booked in with one of the other dentists in order to reduce your waiting times.


There are still many unknowns in the dental field, and indeed life in general. Whilst I am privileged in my work with the British Association of Private Dentistry, the British Dental Association, and the local Dental Committees to be ahead of the curve on many aspects of this, it is still a very changeable environment that dentists are working in. If you feel we have not been able to inform you of any changes or what we are going to be doing next, principally it is because we have had no guidance ourselves and are therefore unable to make the necessary plans and let you know what we are doing next. It was certainly easier to begin lockdown that it has been exiting it.


I hope this update helps to reassure you all that we are busily working to restore a normal service, and that we are confident this will happen as rapidly as possible. We would like to thank all of you for bearing with us whilst we restructure and rebuild the service that you have become used to, and also thank you for continuing to be loyal patients of Thackeray Dental Care now and in the future.

Patient Update CoVid19 – 29th May 2020

At last I can give some more positive news. The practice is aiming for a reopening on Monday 8th June!


We had already planned this date before the BBC decided to tell the entire population BEFORE dentists themselves had been told. Many private practices had already started making the plans to reopen then as the legal situation about the enforced closure of private practices had finally been clarified by the Care Quality Commission. Because of that, we had been planning for at least last month to start the ordering of the types of PPE we would need. We have been able to source ALL the types of PPE that are likely to be recommended, rather than waiting until next week to find out the final list and then not be able to get any because all the other practices in the UK would be ordering them. It will mean that in all probability, many practices will still unfortunately have to remain closed due to the PPE shortages.


However, just because we are now opening on the 8th June does not mean we can immediately return to an absolutely normal service at the practice. Due to the restrictions that will still remain in place, we are only able to run a skeleton team initially because of the need to ensure social distancing of patients and team members as much as possible. There are also likely to be recommendations about the number of patients we can see for what are termed ‘Aerosol Procedures’ (like preparing teeth for fillings getting access to the nerve for emergency pain relief, or even using the water/air spray to dry a tooth). I want to take this opportunity now to reassure all our patients that Aerosols are not necessarily the huge problem that the press are making of it, but are just part of the bigger picture we now have to consider when we reopen, at least for a period of time over the next weeks and months. We will be taking all the precautions needed to ensure your safety as well as ours, and it is because of this initial change that we will not be able to see anywhere near the number of patients per day initially.


This is why we have still had to cancel the routine treatments that were booked in June. As we have been closed for almost 10 weeks now, we have a number of patients who require emergency treatment as a priority before we can reopen our books to more normal treatment just yet. We are hoping that as the R number falls further, the restrictions placed on us will be lifted still further, and that it will not be too long before we are back to a fairly normal service.


So, in the first 2 weeks, we will prioritising patient with outstanding toothache, and urgent problems. We will then gradually be bringing more of our dentists back in, as recommendations allow, to start finishing outstanding treatments, before then reintroducing the more routine dental health check assessments. It is likely that one of the last things that we will be able to reintroduce is hygiene treatments with the Ultrasonic instruments, but we shall be providing these by hand until then. Because we are aware that some of you will have also missed appointments that have already been paid for by your continued monthly membership, we will be offering complimentary ‘catch up’ hygiene appointments for those patients who need them and have been affected by the cancellation of their appointments. We will also be doing our utmost to make sure you still get the appointments you are entitled to and need. In order to do this it is likely that we will be increasing the surgery opening hours once we are able to in order to give you a larger choice of appointment times to see us.


So, despite what the Government and the BBC have said, I’m afraid it is still a case of having to bear with us for a little longer, but normality is now in sight, and I hope to be welcoming you all back very shortly now. When we get back to work on the 8th it will initially be with a skeleton team of 1 dentist, 1 nurse and 1 receptionist in order to deal with the emergencies. I’d like to politely ask therefore that you don’t ring the practice to book routine appointments over the next 2 weeks (from the 1st June)  as we will not be able to make them, and those of us that are back at work will have to concentrate on the emergencies that area booked in. I will be introducing more team members as the lockdown rules further lift and allow us to open more of our surgeries.


I would also like to take this opportunity of behalf of my team to thank all our patients for their patience in this difficult time, and I personally will never forget those messages of support we have received from you. I would also like to give my personal thanks to my team for all the support they have given me throughout this, and especially to Emily and Vicki who have remained at work with me all through this and put up with the random emails, calls, messages and texts at all hours of the day and night. It also goes without saying that the support I have had from my family Claire and Noah has been wonderful, and have made it so much easier to get through this period of uncertainty.


See you all soon!!!

Patient Update CoVid19 – 15th May 2020

Latest video update from practice principal, Dr Simon Thackeray.

Patient Update CoVid19 – 15th April 2020

I hope everyone is keeping safe and trying to enjoy this great weather whilst at home. I think it is certainly a little easier being socially isolated if you can actually see the sun!


I’ve not needed to post any updates in the last 10 days or so as nothing further has happened in dentistry to have to inform you about. We still don’t have an emergency access hub in Mansfield set up for treatment yet, but the service to refer patients through has been set up. For those of you who might need this service, you still have to ring us for advice, then we make the decision to refer you. One of our dentists in the practice is on call 7 days a week, between 8am and 8pm.


This referral then goes to a further triage and assessment centre in Leicester, and they then have the final say whether you will be seen for treatment or not. This doesn’t mean that you will need to travel to Leicester as this assessment will be done by telephone. If you then need treatment, you will be directed to a clinic providing the service, based on postcode.


I’m still very unhappy that this service is not up and running, and some of you may have seen the press have also jumped on this story over the last few days. I can only apologise that there isn’t a more robust and effective system in place at this time. Unregistered patients are left with the only option of using NHS 111 or A&E which is not the most satisfactory solution at all.


We are working hard to set up our return (which will hopefully not be in the too distant future!) and reopening of the practice. It is likely there will still be restrictions on what treatment we will be allowed to provide in the short term due to the still unknown risks of Covid-19 in dentistry. However, we will be putting in place extra sessions on extra days so as to minimise the impact on you. We will also not only be making sure you receive the level of service that you expect from your continued membership, but we will also be providing extra complimentary hygiene treatment in order to get those of you who may have had appointments cancelled in the last month ‘back on track’. Hygiene appointments may be one of the treatments that are slightly limited when we return, but rest assured we will be doing our utmost to make sure the impact of this unusual time is minimised as much as possible.


Once again, thank you for your continued support during our enforced closure. I’m reassured that the practice has a wonderful group of patients that makes it a pleasure to care for, and I know I speak for the team when I say we are missing looking after you all.


Please stay safe.



Patient Update CoVid19 – 3rd April 2020

Hello everyone. I’ve not really sent any updates this week as there hasn’t really been anything to update people about. I seem to have spent my week in a parallel universe of 3 Letter Acronyms talking about the NHS LAT discussing PPE and SOP with the LDC in view of the BDA’s argument with the PHE over adoption of the WHO advice for the UDC’s.


If you can understand any of that then you might want to explain it to me sometime.


But seriously, we are still waiting for the official emergency treatment hubs to be set up. TO say I’m not happy would be an understatement, but it finally looks like there will a solution to the problem.


At the moment, we have access to a private emergency clinic that our plan patients will be able to access, and the assistance aspect of your plan may well cover a significant part of this. I don’t want to just publish the details as they are likely to be inundated, but it is in Nottingham, so not a million miles away from us. As usual, therefore, if you call us in an emergency we can give you the details and then you can make contact with them. Its also worth contacting PracticePlan on 01691 684120 before you arrange an appointment there just to check how much reimbursement you are likely to get back.


The alternative is likely to be an NHS ‘Cold’ site in Mansfield, but the location has not been confirmed yet. The ‘Cold’ sites are designated as such because they are for shielded, vulnerable and non-infected Coronavirus patients. The access to these is a bit more complicated. You have to ring us, we have to then electronically refer you using the NHS portal, and they will then ring you back to arrange treatment. There will be no direct access to these sites for the public and they can only be accessed through us.


I apologise it has been slow getting these places up and running, and I can’t actually believe the number of emails that have gone backwards and forwards in the last 10 days about it. I shall keep quiet about my opinions as to why it has taken so long at this stage, but suffice to say those that know me will have an idea how I feel about this issue.


On another note, following the success of this week’s Virtual coffee morning, were going to have another one, which you may have already had the invite to. It’s important that we try to keep in contact especially if any of us are feeling lonely and isolated at this time, and we thought this was a good way to just have a light hearted virtual get together. SO, the next one is on Tuesday at 2.30, and is going to be a ‘bake off’ event, but obviously without the judges being able to taste the cakes!


Finally, we are wanting the practice help out even further in some way at this time, and want to ask if any of you have any ideas how we can do this. If you have any ideas, email them to Smile@thackeray.dental


I’ll update you all again early next week, and there will probably also be a video later too (ive been told that I’m looking more and more like Tom Hanks in Castaway as the days go by! ). Once again, thanks for bearing with us at this time, you are the reason we have a practice like we do.



Patient Update CoVid19 – 1st April 2020

During these uncertain times it is still important to keep on top of your oral health. This guide will give you some updates on how you can keep your mouth fresh and healthy while we are unable to provide routine dental services.


Download: Managing Toothache at Home

Keep safe and stay well, feel free to email me with any questions.




Patient Update CoVid19 – 30th March 2020

We’re going to try something a little different tomorrow for those of you that are interested.


The first Thackeray Dental Virtual Coffee Morning will go live at 11am


The link for the meeting is: https://us04web.zoom.us/j/317607081


The link is also going on the ‘Covid-19’ part of our website where we’re putting all the latest updates


If you use the above link it will take you to ‘Zoom’ which is a conferencing facility. Its free to use, and all you have to do is follow the instructions to join the meeting. You can use it on your phone or a laptop, (laptop with webcam is the best way).


I thought it might be a way for us all to check in and see how we are all doing. I can’t promise the coffee will be any good, that’s entirely up to you!


Hopefully see you there tomorrow



Patient Update CoVid19 – 29th March 2020

Latest video update from practice principal, Dr Simon Thackeray.

Patient Update CoVid19 – 28th March 2020

Video update from practice principal, Dr Simon Thackeray.


Again we hope these regular updates aren’t too intrusive, but it’s important that we do everything we can to help you with any dental issues during this short ‘lock-down’ to avoid placing the emergency services under any additional stress at these strange and unsettling times.


Please remember to Keep Safe, Stay In and Keep well.

Patient Update CoVid19 – 27th March 2020

As you all probably now know, the practice is now temporarily ‘on hold’ due to the guidance from the Chief Dental Officer, and our regulators in the UK.


We have set up phone diverts to the on duty dentist in the practice, and it will be one of us you talk to, Simon, Julia, Richard, or Andy. We are able to assess by telephone, but I am also going to be using ‘Zoom’ video conferencing if needed.


I personally will also do video calling by WhatsApp, a messaging service, so it might be worth you downloading that if you don’t use it already. If you want to chat using this, send me an email on simon@thackeray.dental , and I’ll send you my mobile number.


We have also enabled live chat on the website which is another way you can contact us if you need any help or advice, or even a chat!


I will update you all further when we have more details of the Urgent Treatment Hubs that are being set up. These will not be ‘drop-in’ centres for treatment, and at the moment access to them will only be via referral by us. I am concerned that there seem to be many people who don’t have any access to emergency care at this point, but rest assured we are working to do our level best to do what we can within the current restrictions placed on us.


On another note, because of the video technology now available, I’m going to suggest I host a ‘Virtual Coffee Morning’ next week using Zoom. At this time when many of us are now isolating ourselves, I’m sure there are many who would like to get together for some kind of ‘Chat’. So I’m going to suggest we meet up at 11am on Monday for Coffee on Zoom. If you want to be part of this informal chat, then email me at simon@thackeray.dental and I’ll set up a link. I can’t promise the coffee will be any good (that’s up to you!) but It would be great to have a chat and catch up.


I hope these regular updates aren’t too intrusive, but it’s important that we do everything we can to help you with any dental issues during this short ‘lock-down’ to avoid placing the emergency services under any additional stress at these strange and unsettling times.


Please look out for more emails, and maybe even some video content coming in the next few days on our Facebook and Instagram channels and particularly the website.


Please remember to Stay In and Stay Safe.


Yesterday afternoon all dental practices in the UK received a message from the Chief Dental Officer instructing dental surgeries to all close temporarily in order to further slow the spread of the Coronavirus.


We will now only be able to deal with the most Urgent of Emergencies by using telephone and video calling to triage them before being able to refer them to appropriate treatment centres being set up in the local area. Should you need this service please call: 07960880962




We are also obviously taking calls for advice during this period. Should you need advice please call: 07960880962 and this will divert to the duty dentist. We have been inundated with calls from patients of other practices and have to unfortunately restrict our service to our plan and registered patients. We are also very concerned that our plan and registered patients continue to keep themselves safe and by offering this service we will hopefully be able to ensure they do not need the services of the overloaded NHS 111. We are obviously concerned that some patients therefore have nowhere to obtain advice and assistance, but we are confident that our service is more than up to coping with the demand.

We only expect this situation to last for a short time whilst the peak of the infection risk is occurring.


As a practice, we are still really concerned for our loyal patients, and hope that any of the problems you might have to now put on hold will be able to be dealt with very swiftly after this period of closure. To do this, we will be ensuring that we honour your continued membership of the practice and your loyalty to us in this short hiatus by prioritising any treatment that may have been delayed in this difficult period.


If you have unfortunately been made redundant at this time, please contact Practice Plan on 01691 684120 in order to discuss whether they can provide any assistance to keep your plan running to ensure you continue to be able to access our service at this challenging time.


We are expecting to be able to resume a normal service very swiftly after this lockdown, as our team are constantly planning and refining how this will be implemented. I’m sure you appreciate this is not easy for them given that our situation is constantly changing almost on an hourly basis.


My team have continued to amaze and astound me with their continued support for all of our patients, and to ensure the impact of this situation is being minimised as much as possible so we can all get back to doing the only thing we know……


Looking after you.


Please stay safe.




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