30 Jun Phase 2 Of Our Reopening | Practice Update
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.