As you are aware, dental practices have been allowed to open to see patients face to face from Monday 8th June. However, on Thursday last week, the government released the guidelines on how practices must operate, leaving us very little time to prepare. These guidelines involve having much more enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) including respirator masks for all dentists and dental nurses which also must be fit tested individually before they can be used. There is a severe shortage of the required masks and a huge demand from dental practices trying to get fit testing arranged.
We are trying our best to source the required masks and arrange the fit testing once the masks become available. We hope to have this in place within the next week or so, but we cannot be sure when we will be able to see patients face to face.
Our guidelines and operating procedures also mean that we can only see a limited number of patients each day, and initially we can only have one surgery in use and we need to implement longer appointment times. We have an extensive list of patients needing urgent appointments and we ask for your understanding and patience at this time. Please be assured that we will do our absolute best to see these emergencies as quickly as possible once we have secured the advised and correct PPE. This will mean that we may need to reschedule all routine dental appointments until we can work through the emergencies over the coming weeks.
The guidelines are changing constantly as we progress through this pandemic and when restrictions start to ease, we will be able to significantly increase our capacity to see patients. We will keep you informed with regular updates.
Gary and the Hartley Dental Team