Practice Update – June 2020

Dear Patients,

We hope this letter finds you, your family and friends in good health.  All of us are looking forward to getting back to the practice and start looking after our patients again.  While many things have changed, one thing has remained the same: our commitment to your care and safety.

We very much welcome the government announcement on the 28th May that dental services may resume from the 8th June. We have been working tirelessly for the last 8 weeks to plan our safe return with guidance from our regulators that is changing by the minute.  Our goal is to resume the safe and effective provision of the full range of dental care within the practice as rapidly as practicable. We will slowly phase in all our services over the next 2 months and hope to be back to our normal capacity by then. Let’s hope we will not have a second wave of Coronavirus.

Infection control has always been a top priority for our practice and no doubt you have experienced this during your previous visits.  Our practice follows stringent standards of infection control so that when you receive care, it is both safe and comfortable.

We are now focusing on implementing our new practice protocols in order to operate a safe and efficient dental practice for all our patients, our staff and our wider community following the COVID-19 crisis.

For patients wishing to reschedule routine appointments please do not contact the practice as previous operating volumes will inevitably need to be phased back in. We have to revise the sequencing and scheduling of patients for treatment – we also have to take into account:

  • The urgency of needs
  • The particular unmet needs of vulnerable groups
  • Available capacity to undertake activity, and delivery of necessary PPE

Rest assured we will be in touch as soon as possible to rebook any cancelled appointments.

Please continue to contact us if you have an emergency need on 01202 631900 or

What you can expect at your next dental visit

We are anticipating the following will be required (however this may be subject to change).

  • You will note some changes when it is time for your next appointment. We are making these changes and revising our protocols to help protect our patients and staff and keep the previous calm atmosphere in the practice. Please be assured a team member will guide you through any new changes.
  • Please do not turn up at the practice without a pre-arranged appointment because the door will be locked, and we will only let patients into the building who have been screened the day before.
  • Selected review appointments, necessary follow-ups and initial consultations may be completed over the phone or by utilising video communications saving you time and helping us limiting the use of expensive PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
  • Where possible, all treatment payments and further appointments will be made over the phone to limit contact between you and our staff
  • You will be telephoned the day before an appointment and asked to provide us with your medical details (via email where possible), answer a few Covid19 screening questions and asked for payment for the next day. This pre-appointment screening is particularly important because we will not be able to see you for your appointment if we cannot speak to you the day before. Not our rules but guidance from our regulators.
  • Asked to leave personal belongings at home and attend alone (except for under 18s and those with reduced capacity)
  • If possible, use the facilities at home before your appointment because we need to reduce/limit your time in the practice to reduce cross infection.
  • You will be required to thoroughly brush your teeth before arrival to the practice.
  • On arrival, we ask you to stay in your car or if arriving on foot, follow the social distance floor guides on the ramp
  • A team member will inform you when you can come into the practice and your forehead temperature will be checked using a touch free thermometer in your car or in the porch
  • We will require you to wash your hands or use hand sanitizer and will issue you with a mask
  • You are likely to see your dentist/hygienist and nursing staff wearing additional PPE. Its normal, please don’t be alarmed.
  • Waiting areas and communal spaces will be clearly marked out respecting social distance recommendations and showing the one-way system (exit through the waiting room). Although, initially we aim to take patients straight to the surgery without the need to use the waiting area.
  • You may see that our waiting room will no longer offer newspapers and magazines, since those items are difficult to clean and disinfect.
  • Appointments will be managed to allow for social distancing between patients. This may mean that you are initially offered fewer options for scheduling your appointment, but we have no choice and will do all we can to get back to normality as soon as possible
  • We will implement shifts to make it easier for you to be seen and give us additional hours to catch up with our backlogs

We will be undertaking full decontamination procedures of the surgery between each patient to ensure a safe virus-free environment. All communal areas of the practice will be decontaminated prior to practice opening, at lunchtime and at the end of the day.

When I read this, I keep asking myself whether all of this is necessary but have to remind myself constantly about the devastating effect this virus had on people in our community, nationally and internationally. We are not out of the woods yet and must be incredibly careful. We are just trying to do our bit to make sure we will not pass the virus on to any of our patients or our very loyal staff. We guarantee that you will feel much safer visiting us than going to the local supermarket.

We will be in contact with you to remake your cancelled appointments as soon as possible. Please bear with us.

If you experience any problems in the meantime, please contact us and we will see you in one of our emergency sessions.

We appreciate your understanding at this critical stage in our efforts to safely reopen to welcome you back once again and look forward to seeing you soon.

Please look after yourself and keep brushing your teeth!

Kind regards

Hennie van der Merwe & The Upton Dental Team

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