Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update

Following the Government's announcement on the 28th May we are delighted that we can begin to reopen the practice and have been busy preparing to do this in the safest possible way for our patients and the dental team. As soon as we have all the PPE in place we will contact patients waiting for appointments to book you back in.

 

In the meantime if you have a dental emergency please phone us on 07475 341868

 If you have any questions about making an appointment or would like to make a virtual appointment by video link please email us at info@harbour-orthodontics.co.uk

Post Covid-19 Reopening Policy

 

As all of you will know on visiting the practice, the dental surgery is already a very safe environment to be in in terms of cross infection control.

 

To reassure you, throughout this pandemic, transmission between dentist and patient or vice versa has not been noted in any reports, even in Spain where dentists have, for the most part, remained open throughout the crisis.

 

The main risks apply to patients getting to the practice rather than once they have arrived.  This policy has therefore been created based on current advice from the government and their advisory bodies.  It outlines the initial modifications we will employ on the reopening of the practice while Covid-19 is still around.

 

The changes adopted are likely, for the most part, to be temporary but of course the exact duration is unknown and depends on the risk levels which are currently between levels 3 and 4.

 

Some of the changes may become permanent features of the way the dental practice is run to ensure future safety of both staff and patients and also to minimise the time patients are in non-clinical areas in the practice.  We very much appreciate your assistance with the new modified procedures at the practice.

 

It has been a very frustrating time for everyone concerned in dentistry during this lockdown and we are extremely grateful for the understanding and forbearance by all of our patients during this period of temporary closure.

 

Provisional timetable

The practice will initially reopen for patients requiring urgent treatment and we will be in touch with everyone concerned to organise the appropriate appointments in a way which keeps everyone as safe as possible.

 

We will therefore initially be seeing patients with emergency problems or other dental issues that require urgent assessment and treatment.  As the lockdown eases patients who are mid treatment due to the lockdown will then be reappointed and  last but not least, will see patients who were due for routine examinations.

 

Patient communication before reopening

 

We will be contacting patients to confirm appointments ahead of their scheduled time and during the pandemic we will request that all patients update their medical and dental history forms beforehand ,which will now be done in an electronic format online rather than paper which will,  as much as possible, no longer be used.

The assessment forms include sections for our assessment of level of risk before you attend the surgery.

 

New measure to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission

 

In addition to the normal cross infection control protocols at the practice, which are already of a very high standard, we will be instigating and complying with our updated procedures to further reduce risk levels whilst you are at the practice.

This may look a little daunting to some of our patients at first but, rest assured, we are all the same folk that treated you before and we will look after you as well as we always have.

 

Before attending the practice

 

We will carry out a pre-attendance assessment of your completed Medical History/Assessment forms before your appointment and, you will receive a follow-up telephone conversation to assess relative corona virus infection risk. Our staff will also contact you to  give a reminder  if we have not received your completed forms. If you have any difficulties with completing the forms we can help you with this over the phone. A dentist may also carry out a video consultation with you to assess your problem prior to your visit so that a treatment plan and cost estimate can be sent to you. 

 

If we feel that you are at risk of having possibly been infected, even if you are asymptomatic, we will respectfully request for you to delay booking any appointments with us for at least one month. If we do not receive the completed questionnaire in time and we are unable to contact you, we may need to cancel your appointment. You may be charged for the appointment if we are unable to fill it at short notice as per our normal terms and conditions. 

 

We recommend that patients in the high-risk groups for developing complications from corona virus delay non-essential dental treatment for as long as possible until the lowering trend of the pandemic becomes clear. If you are in a high risk group and do require treatment we will schedule your appointment at the beginning of the day. To find out whether you are in a high or very high-risk group please see the link here. 

 

The practice will be operating contactless and pre-payment systems going forwards, to minimise requirements for unnecessary contact or use of pin entries on card terminals at reception when in the practice. 

 

When travelling to the practice, we would recommend that you limit close contact with other members of the public as far as possible. We will meet all patients outside the building and bring them straight into the surgery. One adult is able to attend with a child; please do not bring additional family members with you unless they are happy to wait in the car or outside the building

 

Arriving at the practice

This will be a major change for our patients initially as, until we get down to the less risky levels 1 and 2, the recommendation is that practices operate a so called “locked door” approach.

 

When entering the practice you will be the only patient going into reception and through to the surgery and we will ask that you remove your coat/jacket and leave it at reception to collect on your way out.  

 

Personal belongings including handbags and mobile phones will not be allowed to be taken into the surgery. The front door will remain locked throughout your treatment but obviously it is best to bring as few personal belongings as possible and we cannot accept liability for lost personal items.

 

On arrival at the practice you will be asked to use our hand sanitising gels and given a covering for your hair and shoes and a face mask for you to use to go through to the clinical area.

 

We would encourage you not to use the toilet facilities but if you must, it is important that you wash your hands thoroughly afterwards and inform a member of staff, so it can be thoroughly disinfected before the next patient.

 

Practice procedures

The practice will, in the short term, look rather bare as we have had to remove many items from surfaces so that they can be easily cleaned.  There will be a buffer period between patients so that all areas can be decontaminated and any treatment overruns are allowed for in the preparation time so no one should need to wait in reception in this first phase of opening the practice.

 

All future appointments will be made and confirmed either by phone or email so that your time in the practice, outside the surgery, is again limited.

 

Dental Procedures

I am sure you will all be familiar now with the phrase PPE -Personal Protective  Equipment.

 

The risk categories have been split for dental procedures into aerosol generating procedures (AGP’s) and non- AGP.  The way we operated pre lockdown meant the risk of cross contamination was already very small but we will be taking extra measures, such as using a rubber dam for protection to isolate parts of the mouth and  high-volume suction will be adopted more regularly.  This may make the area a little  noisier than  pre-lockdown, along with the air filtration systems which the surgeries will also have running.

 

There is a significant financial impact to procedures due to Covid-19, not only in the amount of extra equipment necessary but also in the time that we must compulsory spend  on each  clinical event, which will need to be significantly extended.  We will keep this to a minimum but it is clear there will be additional fees involved for each procedure. This will all be explained before your return to the practice and we are always here to answer any questions you have.

 

Summary

 

This policy will be reviewed on a very regular basis and you will be kept informed of the gradual reopening of dentistry as it unfolds.

 

If you have any questions about the policy or dental care at the practice please contact us.

17-18 The Waterfront,

Sovereign Harbour,

Eastbourne,

East Sussex

BN23 5UZ

info@harbour-orthodontics.co.uk

Phone 01323 472100

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