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Dentists can re-open, if safety guidelines are met

Dental practices on Island can resume treating patients again, providing they meet stringent safety guidelines.

That's the latest news from the government, who say the regulations are in place to prevent infection among staff and patients. 

Practices were closed under Emergency Powers in late March, as dentistry is a high risk area for potential Covid 19 transmission.

 An emergency dental service was set up by the Department of Health and Social Care to offer advice, pain relief and antibiotics to all Island residents.

This was extended last month to include an emergency treatment service where root canal treatments were made available - it saw  NHS dentists from a number of practices working as a team, on a rota basis. 

Now, practices will be able to offer treatments when they have all necessary equipment and measures in place and can demonstrate compliance with a set of quality assurance standards.

Requirements cover a wide range of issues, including training in the correct use of PPE, protocols for hygiene and decontamination, and social distancing. 

Practices should carry out a Covid-19 assessment on each patient who contacts the surgery and make plans to conduct telephone triage and remote consultations where appropriate.

An assessment team comprising a dentist, a member of DHSC’s Infection Prevention and Control team and a Primary Care officer will visit each surgery to ensure the agreed process towards reopening has been followed and that standards are consistent across the board.

Minister for Health and Social Care David Ashford said: ‘Dentists can begin treating patients once again as soon as all preparations and the Quality Assurance assessment are complete. Some practices will open sooner than others - there is no deadline or target date.'

The reopening of dentistry allows for treatments to be carried out, but does not presently cover routine check-ups, which will follow in due course.

 Patients who call the NHS emergency dental treatment service will be asked to contact their surgery if it has reopened, while some dentists may directly contact their patients to let them know.

The DHSC’s advice and emergency treatment services will remain open to all Island residents for the time being and appointments can be made by calling 642785.

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