Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update - Temporary Closure - Emergency Telephone advice available
Dear Patients of Firs Dental & Firs Premier
It has been 7 weeks now since we were forced to close our doors by Public Health England for face to face consultations with our patients along with all other dental practices in the UK. Unfortunately nothing has changed since the Prime Minister's speech yesterday evening even though we were hopeful there may be some kind of positive news.
We are therefore still open for telephone advice from 9.00am until 5.00pm, Monday to Friday and a dentist is available on site for video conferencing if needed.
Until we get any further guidance with regards to PPE availability and the strict conditions under which we will be allowed to reopen, we can only operate as outlined below. We share your frustrations and acknowledge the inconvenience this may cause.
We anticipate to open as soon as we obtain clearance and are able to implement all practical measures to enable patient safety, but at the moment this appears to be no sooner than the end of June. In the meantime, rest assured we are working on our risk assessments with our staff regularly to ensure we are ready to provide treatment when we get the green light.
This national decision has been made by Public Health England and the CQC for all dental practices in the UK.
Delivering any routine dentistry and seeing patients at the practice is still classed as very high risk and can vastly increase the spread of the virus. On an average day, we see over 100 patients and unlike other viruses we deal with within dentistry, COVID-19 is a respiratory virus, which means it is transmitted via droplets in the air through not only coughs, sneezes and saliva but also from the aerosol caused by our dental equipment. We have strict protocols and processes with regards to our cross infection which means you are protected from a host of viruses we deal with daily but the PPE we use is not sufficient to protect you or us from Covid-19.
We must make changes to the way we operate and are awaiting advice and guidance from our regulatory bodies. We would like to tell you about what we are doing to help with any dental concerns you may have whilst we wait for the new guidelines –
· It is important to keep an eye on our website - www.firsdental.com. We will keep it updated as we receive it with any new information pertaining to the current crisis.
· We are in the process of calling and emailing to cancel all routine dental examinations and treatment until we can operate safely again.
· Our reception now has new opening hours: Monday - Friday 9am-5pm and can be contacted via telephone on 0116 2674254 or by email on firstname.lastname@example.org.
It is likely to be a number of weeks until normal service resumes and in the mean time dental emergencies will be inevitable. If you find yourself with a dental problem, we advise you to initially check our website for our online help guides. If you feel that your problem is more serious or feel you need advice please call the practice. We have an on-call dentist available Monday – Friday, 9am-5pm. The dentist will return your call as quickly as possible. They may request photos that can be emailed to us and we are quickly getting up to speed with IT and using video chat software where necessary.
We will be able to refer those patients in need of URGENT treatment to Urgent Dental Care Centres, open 7 days a week, where they can be seen. This service is provided according to strict clinical criteria, and when you call the practice you will be assessed by a member of our clinical team to make sure that your problem comes under either:
• Trauma - this is usually caused by a blow to the face, a lost filling is not classed as trauma
• Severe Swelling of the face that is significant and worsening
• Bleeding - uncontrolled, such as after an extraction
• Severe Pain that can’t be controlled by pain relief medicines or antibiotics
When contacting the practice, it is important that patients are clear about whether or not they are symptomatic, self-isolating or in a vulnerable or shielded group to ensure you are seen in the correct location.
This is an unprecedented time in our society and one that affects our family, friends and community. We at The Firs will always strive to do our best to make sure that you don’t feel isolated from help and advice in these uncertain times.
Please stay at home, stay safe, help protect the NHS and save lives.
Remember, if you urgently need assistance, please call us on 0116 267 4254 or refer to our Emergency Self Help Guidance