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  • Writer's pictureNewkirkgate Dental Care

COVID-19 Reopening Policy

Patient Information on Newkirkgate Dental Care post-Covid Reopening

Following the recent announcement from the Scottish Government regarding the easing of lockdown, we can confirm we are seeing all dental emergencies for our registered NHS patients. Unfortunately, NHS routine treatment is still on hold and we are only allowed to see NHS patients who require limited emergency treatment. It is important for us to prioritise helping anyone who has had a dental problem over the last few months and we are happy to take calls from these patients.

Dental aerosols such as drills and scalers are still not allowed in Scottish NHS practices. We are hoping that soon the Scottish Government will permit routine dentistry. In the meantime, we are at the practice every day and our lines are open. We apologise for any inconvenience caused and look forward to seeing you soon. Thank you for your understanding over the last few difficult months.

NHS patients are welcome to lobby the health board and Chief Dental Officer Mr Tom Ferris if they have any concerns about this.

This policy has been created based on strict guidelines implemented by the Chief Dental Officer of Scotland and the Scottish Government to highlight the important changes to our daily dental procedures. It is to ensure patient and staff safety to allow the reopening of Dental Practices in Scotland. This means we will all have to adapt to the set regulations, and we would like to thank you in advance for your patience.

We plan on providing Dental Care and advice to our registered patients in the most professional and safest way possible. We emphasise that we are used to working in a sterile and clinical environment and the highest hygiene standards are always maintained at our practice. We have evaluated all of the updated guidance given to us by the Chief Dental Officer of Scotland and the Scottish Government alongside observing the measures that have been implemented in other countries around the world.

What to expect

  • Appointments to be made by phone or email

  • Pre-appointment screening for Covid-19 by email or phone

  • Please arrive 5 minutes before your appointment, not earlier or later than that

  • Patients to attend alone unless requiring assistance

  • Avoid bringing anything unnecessary with you

  • Practice door will be closed so please knock or ring our reception on arrival

  • Patients to carry out hand hygiene on arrival with hand-gel provided by the practice

  • For cough or sneeze please follow the poster advice CATCH IT, BIN IT, KILL IT

  • Our toilets will remain open however please use your toilet at home

  • A member of staff will take you straight into the surgery

  • Dentist and nurses will be already wearing full PPE

  • Following guidance from the Chief Dental Officer, during treatment we will not be able to use high speed drills or ultrasonic scalers that produce an aerosol spray.

Patient journey in detail

Patient appointment management

It is our intention for the Practice to re-open to patients on 22nd of June 2020.

Our staff have been working tirelessly to prepare the Practice for reopening and we have updated our policies and protocols to ensure your safety is paramount.

We recommend that patients in the ‘high risk’ groups for developing complications due to the Coronavirus delay non-essential dental treatment for as long as possible until the Scottish Government guidance suggests that it is safe to do so.

To find out whether you are in a ‘high risk’ group please visit the following website or ask a member of our team for guidance.

What treatments can I have when dental practices reopen?

We are conscious that there are a number of patients who have had their on-going treatments postponed due to Covid-19. Rest assured your treatment will recommence as soon as the Scottish Government guidelines dictate that it is safe to do so. Patients who fall into this category will be contacted in due course.

We will not be able to perform all treatments at the re-opening stage (Phase 2). The Scottish Government have been preparing for Dental Practices in Scotland to open safely by moving to Phase 2 which is the first stage that allows us to see patients face to face for Emergency non-aerosol generating procedures (non-AGPs). Some examples of non-AGP treatments the dentist can do for you in phase 2 are taking x-rays, simple extractions, temporary fillings, recementing your crown or bridge or repairing your denture. For all other emergency treatments the dentist will refer you to an Urgent Dental Care Centre.

Practice social distancing measures and procedures to reduce the risk of Covid-19.

We will remove any non-essential items of furniture and the waiting area will be sparse, leaving at least two meters between each seat to prevent the spread of infection.

In order to minimise the risk of contamination, hand sanitiser gel, tissues and foot-pedal-bins will be made available and you will notice ‘Catch it, Kill it, Bin it’ posters on the walls, promoting the NHS campaign to fight Covid-19.

Appointments will be arranged to ensure that there will never be more than one patient waiting at a time. There will also be sufficient time for additional decontamination procedures and to prepare for the next patient. In addition, there will be contingency time factored into appointments in case a procedure takes longer than expected and over-runs.

A clear plastic screen will be installed at reception as well as a bold line on the floor to indicate the two-meter zone which separates the waiting and reception areas in order to promote social distancing between staff and patients.

There will be antibacterial gel that you will be asked to use when entering and leaving the practice. All clinical and common areas will be disinfected after each patient as well as door handles, seats, toilet and card machines. We will only accept debit or credit card payments at this time and contactless payments are preferable. Our staff will be wearing more Personal Protective Equipment than usual which may make us less recognisable but to reassure you we are the same friendly faces underneath.

Patient communication

If you wish to make an appointment you must do so by phone as only patients with appointments will be permitted to enter the practice.

Prior to any scheduled appointment a member of our team will contact patients to confirm their appointment in line with our usual procedure.

We will ask you to update your medical history questionnaire and complete a ‘Covid-19 Screening Declaration’. This will give us the ability to decide if it is safe for you to attend the practice. After completing these forms, if we feel that you are at risk of having Covid-19 or even if you are asymptomatic, we must insist that you delay any non-urgent treatment with us. In cases where you are experiencing Covid-19 symptoms but also have a dental emergency a Dentist may refer you to an Urgent Care Centre that has been set up for specifically for symptomatic patients.

Before attending the Practice

When travelling to the Practice we recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as much as possible. We would recommend wearing a mask before entering the practice.

Please do not attend the practice more than 5 minutes before your scheduled appointment as you may be asked to wait outside. If you are travelling by car, we would be grateful if you could wait in your car and contact the Practice on 0131 554 3509 to confirm your arrival.

Only one adult may attend with a child. Please do not bring additional family members unless you are happy for them to wait outside the building.

Arriving at the Practice

When arriving at the Practice we will welcome you and ask you to apply antibacterial gel to your hands. We will ask you to leave your coat on your allocated seat at the reception area and you will be taken straight to the surgery room.

Please note, although our receptionist will always be present, we cannot be held liable for personal items so please limit what you bring into the building.

Please ask a member of staff if you wish to use the toilet facilities. Use of electronic hand driers are prohibited and paper towels should be used instead.

We hope that by adhering to these strict procedures we will be able to fulfil the dental needs for as many of our patients as possible, whilst minimising the risk of infection.

Our policy will be reviewed and altered accordingly as per Scottish Government Guidelines.

If you have any questions, please contact us on 0131 554 3509 or and a member of staff will be happy to assist you.


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