I hope you are well and have been managing during these unprecedented times with the global COVID-19 pandemic.
I am pleased to inform you that, in line with current Government advice, the practice will reopen on Monday 3rd August.
This unfortunately may not be business as usual and it will take some time before services return to what you previously experienced as normal.
Initial appointments will be prioritised for those patients who have already contacted me with a dental problem since we closed the practice and for those whose ongoing treatment was disrupted by the lockdown.
Our receptionists will be in contact with these patients from 3rd August to book their appointments.
All patients who have missed or are now due routine hygiene appointments will be contacted from 3rd August to book their appointments.
I have been working with dental colleagues and experts on how to best operate during this time with the risk of COVID-19 transfer still present.
As a result adjustments have been made to our premises and procedures and extra measures will be in place for patients and staff to ensure that high standards of infection control are in place and to enable social distancing as necessary.
The following arrangements have been put in place (subject to change if the government changes its advice):
Additionally, please note that:
• Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. That might mean you are offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment.
• Appointment times may need to be extended to allow for additional measures in providing treatment.
• No patient will be admitted entry to the practice unless they have an appointment.
Cross-infection control protocols are already embedded into clinical activities carried out at the practice and as such it is a clean environment compared to public areas.
However it is not possible for us to control sources of infection outside of the dental practice so we depend on patients and staff not to attend the practice if they believe they have or know they have been in contact with someone who’s had COVID-19 symptoms in the preceding 14 days.
We recommend that if you are in a high-risk group that you delay any non-essential treatment for as long as possible until the trend of the epidemic in the UK becomes clear.
The patient experience may feel different but I can assure you that you will receive the same level of dental care that we have always offered at Simply Smiles Dental Practice. Staff will abide by strict protocols that define how they operate in this new environment. Please provide us with your full cooperation with any new or modified procedures at the practice.
What to expect when you attend the practice after re-opening:
• Once you have a scheduled appointment, we will contact you beforehand to remind you of your appointment and to check on your health condition. You will be sent your standard medical form for update and a COVID-19 screening questionnaire to be completed electronically for return ahead of your appointment. If an on-line facility is not available, the questionnaire will be completed over the phone. The screening questions will be asked again at your appointment.
• If you become unwell with COVID-19 symptoms following this call you must let the practice know you should not attend your appointment and it will need to be rescheduled.
• On the day of your appointment you must arrive on time for your appointment and be unaccompanied. If patients require to be accompanied (children or those with carers) please contact the practice in advance for advice.
• If travelling to the surgery on public transport please use hand sanitiser before arriving at the practice. Please come wearing a face mask if possible or be prepared to wear one.
• A protective glass screen is in place at the reception desk to protect our reception staff.
• You will only be allowed to enter the building when we are ready for you so be prepared to wait outside the building until then. Please telephone the practice on arrival or knock on the door. The receptionist will greet you in appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE). You will be asked to use hand-sanitiser and have your temperature taken (using a non-contact thermometer).
• If you are found to have a temperature greater than 37.8OC or have any symptoms related to COVID-19 you will not be permitted to attend the practice and will be asked to return home and self-isolate as per current government guidelines.
• If well, you will be shown directly to the treatment surgery (at a social distance) taking any coat, bag or other items with you. Mobile phones cannot be used in the treatment room. All your personal items will be put into a plastic crate in the surgery for safekeeping.
• The toilet facilities will not be in use for patients, unless in an emergency. If used, the toilet area will be cleaned thoroughly between users.
• You will be requested to make payments via card or by electronic transfer or by cash in an envelope as soon as possible after your appointment. If this is not an option, payment will be by debit or credit card only at the end of the appointment.
• All future appointments will be made and confirmed by email or telephone to limit your time at reception.
Our practice follows strict infection control guidelines made by governing bodies that ensure the safety of patients and their colleagues. Our staff will be trained in any new procedures to make sure they adhere to updated recommendations and so minimise any risk of infection transfer to and from patients.
Staff providing treatment (the dentist, dental nurse and hygienist) will be wearing full PPE, including the recommended fitted respirators (masks) and other protective items such as a visor and protective overalls. This will likely mean a reduction in social interaction but will help keep the treatment times to a minimum.
I would like to thank you for your patience and understanding during this long period of practice closure and for your cooperation whilst we implement the new measures at the practice. I plan to regularly review and revise the way we operate in line with scientific evidence and advice and will keep you updated if there are any further changes necessary to our services.
I hope this assures you that Simply Smiles Dental Practice will continue to offer you safe and caring dental treatment of the highest standard and we look forward to seeing you soon.
Best wishes and keep well,