We've been back in work for just over a month now, so I thought I'd better write about how things are going in the practice. It's fair to say things have been a bit challenging since we came back, so before I go any further I want to thank my wife for being super-organised, my staff for working so hard, and our patients for being understanding with us in these strange times.
So what's been happening? Well, as you may have heard, there's a virus out there which we are having to be very careful of. Fortunately Lincolnshire doesn't seem to have been too badly hit compared to many areas, but we still follow all the relevant national guidelines to ensure everyone's safety.
We started off by only having one dentist in at a time, and only seeing emergencies. I think people were grateful that we could see them again rather than having to refer them to the Urgent Care Centre I mentioned in my previous posts. As of a couple of weeks ago, we have most of our nursing and reception staff unfurloughed, and we are working with two dentists at a time. You may have seen the video on the last blog post where I shaved my beard off for the new masks. Well this is what we have to wear every time we do a filling, or other procedure which creates an aerosol (water spray).
It gets pretty hot under all that plastic I can tell you!
After a filling we have to leave the surgery empty for an hour before completing a thorough clean-down and mop of the floor, which has played hell with our normal timings, so please bear with us if we can't just pop you in for a filling as we would have done before.
I've probably mentioned some of this before, but the other measures we've taken to keep everyone safe include
- putting the receptionists behind perspex
- encouraging card payment over the phone where necessary.
- having longer appointments, so the dentist can complete a scale for you until the hygienists are back.
- minimising patient numbers in the waiting room.
- providing hand sanitiser and face masks when you come in.
- changing the chairs in the waiting area and x-ray room to wipeable ones.
- pre-screening patients for Covid-19 symptoms before they come.
- implementing a one-way system so you exit through a different door.
- even more regular cleaning of everything (we were already pretty good at that).
We're also working longer hours to compensate for the reduced numbers of patients we can see. I have to be honest, all of us are finding this a bit of a strain but we felt it was the right thing to do for our patients at the moment.
I'll finish by thanking you all for bearing with us, especially you Denplan patients - you're the reason the practice is still here. We're working hard to get back to normal as soon as we can, and we're here to help with any dental emergencies you have.