We hope this letter finds you and your family well.
Covid-19 has forced us all to make changes to the way we live and interact with one another. The dental profession, as you have probably seen on the news, has faced its fair share of challenges. Many dental practices have remained closed, some indefinitely and a large proportion are only offering a continued skeleton service.
We want to explain the measures that have been put in place at Oakland Family Dental Practice to allow you to access our clinics and to reassure any patient who needs help with a dental issue but who may be unsure of how or if they can get that help that our practice is open and ready to assist you with advice and treatment.
During lockdown we operated a remote access clinic 7 days a week. Tina was available to advise on all enquiries and myself, Louise and Lima being available for all clinical needs. Through remote access to clinical notes/radiographs and with patient dental health being up to date, we managed to maintain a very effective approach to care within the government constraints of service. With many practices not offering any service and NHS dental hubs being very challenging to access, we also found ourselves an important advice service for a wider group of patients.
When we first reopened in June, I prioritised all registered patients who had experienced problems during lockdown. We have steadily increased the types of treatment available and through the teams’ hard work and continued learning we are pleased to say we are now able to resume a comprehensive dental service for all patients.
Over the past few months, we have built on our strong foundations, to ensure our modern practice can adapt to the new requirements and return to delivering care to all of our patients. The team have undertaken detailed and extensive training not only in the effective use of the additional protective equipment we now wear, but also in how to deliver safe and effective care.
The practice building has had a total overhaul, as detailed in the attached graphic. The changes included a fresh air ventilation system to ensure total airflow control within the premises. With this system we have fresh air turn over every 5 minutes within the entire building and all old air being extracted directly outside without any air recirculation. With new strict regulations on all aerosol generating procedures (fillings, crowns, root canals) and the 60 minutes of surgery fallow time post treatment, we quickly realised all practices would only be able to see a fraction of their patients at best. To avoid any limits on access, I have installed another surgery in the building so we can rotate around 4 surgeries to avoid increased waiting times. All our patients now have access to their online records so medical history and personal details can be updated at home. This is designed to reduce all waiting times in the reception area. Within the coming month we will be offering an online appointment booking service. With forward planning we also avoided all PPE shortages which many practices struggled with. All additional costs have been covered by our practice and no additional PPE surcharges have been introduced which is not the case for many patients at other dental practices. To ensure a fresh feel and a fresh start I had the entire practice redecorated. To ensure controlled access to the building we are operating a closed door policy with only patients having a prebooked appointment and completed the COVID 19 pre-assessment questions gaining access. All patients are temperature checked within the building. Although temperature checking is not a guarantee, the likely hood of having COVID without a fever is estimated to be in the region of 1 in 12000 so we feel this approach only adds strength to our additional precautions.
It has been a challenging process but the team’s commitment to providing the best quality dental care in a safe and appropriate environment is unwavering.
Whilst no one can be sure when COVID 19 will be fully under control, the changes we have made are way and above any baseline requirements set by the Department of Health. We have made those changes so however the situation evolves during the coming months we will always be here to provide you with dental care in a safe, controlled, comfortable environment.
We understand that you may have a number of questions relating to your individual needs and if you have any specific concerns or queries please do not hesitate to contact me or a member of the team to discuss this further.
We wish you good health and look forward to welcoming you to the practice soon.
Phil and all the team at Oakland