Dentists in England may resume working at their practice from June 8. But Dr Mark Porter knows that dental colleagues are “really struggling” with the idea.
Appearing on Good Morning Britain, on Friday May 29, Dr Porter addressed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s plan to reopen dentists from June 8.
Dr Porter began by stating that although dental practices will soon be able to open, it doesn’t guarantee a smooth service.
“I’ve had a lot of dental colleagues bending my ear, and they’re really struggling,” he confessed.
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“The procedures they do, like drilling and looking into people’s mouths, are very high risk.”
Speaking of practical matters, Dr Porter continued: “They’re going to need to slow down, use PPE, have gaps between patients…”
And that could result in dentists only being able “to get through a quarter of their normal work load” in a day.
On top of a slower service, dentists are “struggling to get PPE in many cases”.
This led to Dr Porter’s conclusion: “Although they’re allowed to open next week, I really don’t see a normal service resuming for a long time.”
He added: “I know a lot of people are desperate to get their teeth sorted, but it might be some time yet, I’m afraid.”
The British Dental Association (BDA) commented: “We understand that many dentists and their teams are frustrated with the way yesterday’s news was broken regarding dental practices re-opening from 8 June.
“We share that frustration. An announcement to the public at the same time as to the profession has put practices at a disadvantage in terms of their preparations and decisions about how and when they can start to deliver care.”
The BDA stressed that “there is now a huge job to be done in managing patient expectations over the coming days”.
New safety precautions to be adhered to because of coronavirus will result in reduced capacity.
And the BDA believes it may minimise “access levels by as much as two thirds”.
BDA chair Mick Armstrong added: “A return of high street dentistry will be welcome news to millions of patients left with few options during lockdown.
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“But we will need everyone to be patient as practices get up and running.
“Dentists won’t be able to provide a full range of care without the necessary kit.”
Meanwhile, Boris Johnson’s latest government press briefing, which aired on Thursday May 28, will lead to other changes too.
From Monday June 1, up to six people (within England) can meet in outdoor spaces, such as gardens and parks.
However, people meeting up from different households must uphold the “safe two metre distance” from one another.
Schools are allowing more pupils to walk through their gates from Monday – including reception, and years one and six.
From June 15, secondary schools will welcome back teenagers in years 10 and 12.
And from the same date, other non-essential retail outlets will reopen.
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