All dentists in England remain closed because the Department of Health, at the end of March, banned all face to face visits for patients in dental practices, surprisingly, this even includes emergencies. No scientific reason was given for such drastic action.
Dentists only found out last week, that we were forced to remain closed to preserve PPE, and to free us up to be redeployed elsewhere in the health service, e.g. to answer 111 calls, and help at the various Nightingale hospitals. All redeployment happened within that first week, and we have the appropriate PPE to help our patients safely, more about that below.
Nearly 2 months later, this bizarre and unacceptable situation still exists; those dentists that will never be redeployed still cannot see their patients. Instead, thousands of dentists, sit at home, watching Netflix. Unlike the photo above, there is no humour in this situation.
This last week has been extremely difficult for all of us at the practice, we have been inundated by messages from our patients that are really suffering; I know that some of you have toothache, swellings, missing front teeth, lost crowns, and incomplete treatment. It is unacceptable that we cannot help you.
When will we open again?
I want to reassure you that dentists in England have been campaigning HMG at the highest level; I have been communicating with our local MP, Sarah Olney, who is very sympathetic, but, the responses from ministers shows an abject lack of awareness of the scale of patient suffering. Looks as though, because of this incompetency, we will be the last dentists in the world that are allowed to see patients.
For me personally, this is embarrassing. I cringe every time I have been in touch with any of you, that have reached out for my help.
I am so sorry.
The good news is that things have been gathering momentum recently, it now appears that we have been closed illegally, and that DOH have been meeting in the last week to get us up and running again soon. As soon as I hear, I will let you know.
This is me being fit tested for a new type of mask. Yes, things will be different for the short-term.
New protocols have been put into place for future visits to the practice. I have always had a simple philosophy for patient and staff safety:
“When you come to our practice, it will be the cleanest place that you will visit that day. That includes your home and hospital operating theatres.”
Everything that we will do now, will still follow that same philosophy. Full details to follow, but a quick summary:
– We will look different (but no hoods 😄)
– The practice will look different
– You will need to behave differently
– What will be the same is us, and this will not be forever.
However, some of us are overwhelmed with fear, about our health, and our finances, scooping out the water as soon as it falls into our tiny dinghies, whilst trying to fend off the tidal waves. So, we are not in the same boat, we may be in the same ocean, but, certainly not in the same boat. Our destination may be similar, but we are all taking a different journey.
Me, I am in a rowing boat, but the rivers are calm, I am trying to steer a way for my family, and my business, I am in charge of my boat, but every now and then someone gives it a good whack…..these last 2 weeks have been very tough. I am incredibly frustrated, I want to swap my boat for a cruise ship, let someone else be in charge, I will be happy to sit back, and sip cocktails on the deck.
I am very much looking forward to being able to help you again, go into Sainsbury’s without queuing up, to give out hugs, and to spontaneously head off to West Wittering beach.
I am forever thankful for your lovely messages, yes, I know that one day this will all be a distant memory.
It will be a very special time when this is all over. Partay.
Doc Hap and Team @ The Richmond Dentist