Expansion of services in NHS dental practices in ScotlandNews
Posted by: The Probe 31st July 2020
NHS dental practices are to re-introduce a range of procedures, such as the use of drills, on a limited basis in Scotland. Practices have been able to see NHS patients for certain types of non-aerosol routine care as part of Phase 3.
Now dental practices, if they are ready, will be able to provide aerosol generating procedures (AGP) on patients with urgent dental problems from 17 August. This move will be supported by the provision of enhanced Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to dental practices which will require to be individually fitted to dental team members to ensure they work effectively.
This limited introduction, with care prioritised for patients in need of urgent care, replicates the arrangements in place in urgent dental care centres.
Chief Dental Officer Tom Ferris said: “NHS patients have been able to receive care and treatment including aerosol generating procedures through one of the 71 urgent dental care centres in Scotland. Now a limited range of AGP procedures will be available at NHS practices – this decision has been taken after carefully and thoroughly considering the balance between the overall risk of infection with the needs of patients to be seen by dentists.
“I am pleased that patients seeking such urgent procedures can now been seen at their NHS practice, and in turn, that practices can expand their services to patients.”
AGPs are defined as any patient care procedure that results in the production of airborne particles, known as aerosols.
These are relevant to the spread of COVID-19 since transmission may occur through both direct air-borne infection and through contact with contaminated surfaces.
In urgent dental care centres dentists and the dental team are provided with enhanced PPE, including face-fitted masks.
Dental practices that wish to provide AGP care to NHS patients will be provided with a similar level of PPE.
The Chief Dental Officer and his team are in regular contact with NHS Boards to ensure dental practices have clear guidance on appropriate procedures for seeing patients. The Scottish Government have also been working closely with BDA (Scotland) in making the necessary preparations.