Dental practices within City and Hackney have restarted a full range of services. Jeremy Wallman, Head of Primary Care Commissioning; Dentistry, Optometry and Pharmacy NHS London has explained the reopening of the full range of dental services. Dentists will be operating within COVID restrictions so they will not be able to see as many people in the day as they need to ensure their rooms are safe after each patient visit.
- All practices are expected to start providing a full range of services however there will be exceptions, for example, if the dental practice has a member of staff who has health issues, which means that opening will not be possible. Or the logistics of the practice do not allow it to maintain sufficient social distancing. Or the airflow not being good enough to ensure staff and patient safety.
- Their capacity to see the volume of patients they used to see pre-COVID is severely reduced. After every patient visit, they will have to leave the room for up to an hour depending on the airflow system of the practice.
- Urgent dental care centers commissioned will remain open in London. These services are particularly aimed at patients who do not have a dentist or those who need to see a dentist urgent but their own practice does not have the capacity to see them.
- Realistically normal resumption of routine services will differ from practice to practice depending on their capacity, size of the practice, the number of dentists working there.
- Acute hospitals and Community dental services are also resumed but are working in a constrained environment as they also have to follow the same rule in terms of ensuring they have adequate PPE etc.
- There will be Oral health advice campaigns as there are concerns children’s tooth decay has increased during COVID as they could not easily access dental services.
- If people are in an emergency 90% of people can be seen on the same day or on the next day. This was confirmed by our mystery shopping exercise to see what services dentists were offering.
- The expectation is that Dentistry will not have to stop if there is a second national lockdown as they are expected to have in place all the necessary safeguarding measures.
Click here to watch the recordings of the Healthwatch meeting with Jeremy Wallman.