Making your time in the clinic enjoyable and stress-free is very important to us. It’s a challenge, but we want to continue to make your patient journey relaxed at the same time as complying with new guidance for operating safely, post-lockdown. Over the last few weeks we have been preparing for welcoming you back and, at the same time, working through new protocols. Our update blog has already described some of our new policies.
Here we outline some important steps you should take before your appointment, as well as some other essential new clinical procedures you should know about.
1) Online forms
We ask that all patients fill in the online medical history form that is now on the website so that we have fully updated information for you. From now on, this information will be retained electronically and securely. Ahead of coming to your appointment, we also ask that you fill in the online pre-attendance form. If there is any chance that you have the coronavirus, we will respectfully ask to delay your appointment.
2) Entering and leaving the practice
When you arrive at the clinic, another health assessment will take place. Your temperature will be checked with a no-touch thermometer. As social distancing is still a priority, we will be staggering appointments so that no more than one patient is in the practice at any one time. On arrival, we will provide a box for your coat, bag or mobile, which will be kept safely in reception until you are ready to go. Arriving at the exact time of your appointment and leaving afterwards is essential. Payments will in future be contactless and can be made as you arrive or depart. Your follow-up appointment will be made by phone or email.
After one patient leaves, there is additional time allowed for cleaning before the next patient arrives. All surfaces that a patient has had contact with will be disinfected. This was routine in the surgery pre-pandemic but disinfection now applies to all aspects of the building.
3) Your role in cross-infection control
In the past, the emphasis of sterilisation measures in the practice was on maintaining a safe clinical environment. Due to COVID-19, our patients are now factored into the procedure; a hand sanitiser will be available as you arrive and we will ask you to clean your hands thoroughly, as well as provide you with an anti-bacterial mouthwash to gargle with. You will be given a mask to wear until Dr Chatoo is ready to start the treatment and coverings for your shoes while you are in the clinic. Unfortunately, the toilets will not be available for patient use for the foreseeable future.
4) Aerosol Generating Procedures (AGP)
As you may be aware, dentistry is considered high risk due to AGPs. In orthodontic practices, these are only involved when we are placing or removing brackets or retainers. As a practical measure, AGP appointments will happen on the same day. Please be reassured that the suction used by the dental nurses reduces aerosol production by over 90%. The new specialist ventilator masks we will be wearing filter out most airborne particles in both directions, from us to you and from you to us. We believe that we can treat all our patients with minimal risk.
5) New Personal Protective Wear for the team
All the clinical team will be wearing the new grade of protective wear and Dr Chatoo has carried out a training in fit-testing ventilator masks. We are all confident that we shall be keeping everyone safe through our reopening policy.
6) Your feedback
As ever, your thoughts and feedback on the care you receive here are valuable to us. Please do send any comments to us here. Our aim of maintaining a relaxed and stress-free environment is obviously challenging in the current climate – but we really shall do our best to provide you with the care and consideration you have come to expect.
The clinic will be opening as of Monday 8th June, although we will still be available to organise consultations via video call. If you have any concerns around attending the clinic for your appointment, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to help.