Dentists are to reopen in Lancashire and here's what you need to know
Some dental practices in Lancashire will begin to reopen from Monday for face-to-face appointments that are pre-booked by phone or email.
Not all practices will be able to reopen immediately and when they do, the reopening is likely to be phased as they undertake the work required to ensure the safety of patients and staff.
In this early phase, treatment is likely to be for urgent cases only, and some patients may be referred elsewhere for some treatment.
Some of the changes patients will notice are that they will not be admitted to practices until the time of their appointment; they will have to complete a screening process which could be online or on the phone before treatment begins; waiting areas will be cleared and staff will be wearing appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE). Practices will be making patients aware of these changes.
Alongside the phased re-opening of dental practices, Urgent Dental Centres (UDCs), which were set up during the pandemic, will continue to provide urgent dental treatment for some patients.
The UDCs have the appropriate PPE, procedures and equipment to provide a limited range of dental treatment in a safe environment. Patients who are assessed as needing an urgent, face-to-face appointment, may be asked to attend a UDC rather than their usual dental practice
Anthony Leo, director of primary care and public health at NHS North West, said: “Routine dental care was temporarily suspended in accordance with Government advice since March 25 in response to the Covid-19 emergency.
"We therefore commissioned 170 Urgent Dental Centres across the North West to ensure patients had access to urgent/emergency treatment and we are very grateful to all dental service providers that made this happen.
“We are now pleased to advise that from Monday, June 8, some dental practices across the region will start to open for face-to-face appointments and further practices will reintroduce services once they are in a position to do so. They will do this in a safe and managed way.
“Patients will notice some changes - all aimed at providing a safe environment and safe services for patients and staff. These precautions will slow the pace at which clinicians are able to work, and we are grateful to all patients for their understanding and cooperation while we progress to a more routine level of dental and hygiene care.”
People should initially contact their dental practice by phone or email. They will be given advice or offered an appointment if appropriate.
If you aren’t already registered with a dentist, go to www.nhs.uk/service-search/find-a-dentist or contact the dental helpline on 0300 1234 010.