Patient Journey

Things have changed a lot for all of us and we wanted to provide some guidance, and explain how things will proceed going forward, to ensure the safety of our staff and patients and to make sure we are compliant with the new guidance and protocols which have been set out by the Chief Dental Officer:

 

  • Enable social distancing by having less people within the practice at any given time
  • Have the correct PPE and infection control procedures in place
  • Remote triaging where possible and continue to treat with analgesics, advice or antimicrobials where appropriate
  • Restrict multiple appointments and try, wherever possible, to complete treatments in a single visit
  • Enable contactless or remote interaction/appointments where possible
  • Restrict aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) as much as possible by offering alternative and preventative treatment options

 

This means the patient experience and treatment options will be very different to what it was before COVID-19. Your wellbeing, dental and otherwise, is still our main concern when providing you, as a patient, with the care you require. Unfortunately, certain restrictions to our working methods will mean that we might not be able to provide all the dental care as planned prior to COVID-19 and that certain treatment plans might have to be altered to fit in with the new guidance. This is applicable mostly to patients who have open courses of treatment.

IMPORTANT POINTS TO CONSIDER

Always attend your appointments alone unless you require a guardian or carer to accompany you. Please inform us, when booking your appointment, whether you need to be accompanied.

 

You will be asked about whether you have any COVID-19 related symptoms every time we speak to you over the phone and prior to any appointments before entering the surgery. This might seem very repetitive, but we are following the guidance and procedures given to us to ensure the safety of our staff and everyone attending the surgery.

 

If you have a temperature of  37.8°C or higher, you will be asked to rebook your appointment following an appropriate period of isolation. If you have an immediate emergency you will be referred to an Urgent Hub, who can manage possible COVID-19 positive patients, or A&E.

 

Treatment options will differ somewhat from those prior to COVID-19, because we need to minimise the use of AGPs, thereby reducing the risk of unnecessarily spreading the virus.

 

The front door will be locked and entry will only be allowed for booked appointments or if you need to drop off crowns or dentures for disinfection prior to treatment.

BOOKING APPOINTMENTS

Initially we will be contacting patients who developed urgent problems during lockdown and those with outstanding treatment. Unless you have a dental emergency, we would appreciate it if you could email rather than phone us. During busy times, we will have the answer phone switched on and you can leave a message and we will endeavour to get back to you as quickly as possible.

 

For patients contacting us with dental emergencies, we will offer a remote triage service to determine whether you require a face to face appointment. We have allocated slots for these every day. We will book you a slot and ring you at the designated time. If we cannot reach you, we will try again ten minutes later. You will need to phone the practice and reschedule your triage appointment if we were not able to reach you after two attempts. There is currently no charge to you for this service.

 

When we contact you about arranging a face to face appointment, we will ask questions about your current dental problem and categorize it according to urgency. We will also check to see whether you have any COVID-19 symptoms. We will then offer you an appointment. If you have an email and you booked more than a week prior to the appointment, you will receive an email reminder with a portal link. If you have a mobile phone, you will receive a reminder via text two working days before your booked appointment.

ON ARRIVAL - first stage

If you arrive in your own vehicle, please make sure you pay for at least an hour parking, unless otherwise instructed by reception, as procedures will take much longer than usual. At this stage, you can use the QR code from the portal link, to check in for your appointment, whilst you are in your vehicle. Please stay in your vehicle until you are contacted by reception to inform you that we are ready for you to attend your appointment.

 

If you arrive by public transport, taxi or on foot or bicycle, then please wait outside if the weather permits. If the weather is not suitable to remain outside or you do not have a mobile phone for reception to contact you on, then please ring the doorbell and someone will allow you access. Please try not to arrive too early, unless, as mentioned earlier, you need the iPad to complete your paperwork.

ON ARRIVAL - second stage

Once contacted by reception, please come to the front door and ring the doorbell. One of our staff members will open the door for you and greet you. The staff member will be wearing an apron, mask, gloves and visor. Please stay where you are – do not enter the building – as they will need to take your temperature with an infrared thermometer and confirm that you have not developed COVID-19 symptoms since our last contact. If your temperature is below 37.8°C, and you are asymptomatic, you will be allowed to enter the premises. You will be given an alcohol hand disinfectant to use and a face mask to put on (if you do not have one of your own). You will be shown where to hang your coat and your personal belongings will then be stored in a box, which we will kept safely at reception. The staff member will then direct you to the surgery.

 

We ask that patients try to use the bathroom facilities at home prior to coming for their appointments. However, if you need to use our bathroom facilities, the staff member will direct you to the bathroom first. You need to make sure that you have washed your hands before you can continue to the surgery.

 

Our staff will then clean the bathroom fully, to reduce the risk of contamination to any subsequent patients.

 

Please brush your teeth at home prior to your appointment, as we will not be able to allow patients to brush their teeth in our bathroom.

FURTHER BOOKINGS

It will not always be possible to book further appointments more than two weeks ahead during the early stage of this new way of working.

 

In some cases, where laboratory work is involved (crowns, bridges, dentures), we will need to contact the laboratory to determine their capacity for accepting work from us prior to booking appointments.

 

AGPs will be limited to specific time slots to allow for the necessary infection control procedures. This might mean having to wait longer for these appointment slots.

 

If further appointments need to be booked, patients will be sent an email or text message confirmation. Paper appointment cards will no longer be given to patients to minimise the risk of contact transmission.

TIME MANAGEMENT

We have to restrict the amount of people at any given time within the building, and therefore will not be able to see any late arrivals of more than 5 minutes.

 

To prevent us from running late, we have booked longer clinical sessions than usual to allow, as much as possible, for the clinical unknowns and the time-impact of unforeseen events.

 

It is also very important that patients realise that the check-in procedure will take much longer than usual, due to all the clinical safety checks we are required to have in place.

Contact us on:
01392 423668

Award Winning Dentist based in Exeter

All of our treatments, even the complex ones, are based on the principles of good general care and oral hygiene… we give 100% commitment to every patient we treat.

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