The UK’s chief dental officers have released a joint letter in response to the growing number of coronavirus cases.
As the nation adjusts to the restrictions of the second lockdown, the CDOs of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have spoken out to the profession.
While dental practices can remain open, they acknowledge that teams are likely to face renewed pressure over the winter months.
‘Unfortunately, as we all know, COVID-19 cases are rising again and there is already sustained additional pressure on parts of the NHS,’ it states.
‘Pressure will inevitably be exacerbated by staff shortages due to sickness or caring responsibilities.
‘Due to the actions of the whole population of all four nations the initial peak of pressure will be significantly lower than it would have been.
‘But it may well be prolonged throughout the winter period, with wide local variation and fluctuation in cases. These may also require a sustained and prolonged response from all the healthcare professions.’
Flexibility is key
As a result, they are urging dental teams to use their ‘professional judgement’ to ensure patients receive safe care.
‘This second wave will require healthcare professionals to be flexible in what they do,’ it adds.
‘We recognise that some dental professionals may find themselves working outside their usual scope of practice. This can be stressful.
‘You may have concerns about both the professional practicalities and implications of working in such circumstances.
‘The healthcare professional regulators, including the GDC, have already committed to take into account factors relevant to the environment in which the professional is working.’