PHASED RE-OPENING OF THE RIVER PRACTICE
The government announced tonight that we will be allowed to re-open on the 8th June. What the Prime Minister didn’t say is that they have imposed lots of conditions on us and we will not be back to normal for many months.
In particular, we will be very restricted as to how many patients we can see each day. Please bear in mind that we have well over 500 patients with overdue appointments. Our staff are prepared to work a lot of extra hours, but there is a limit to how many hours we can safely work.
In addition, we have had to make some tough decisions, but believe we have come up with a very fair way of progressing. Our priority is the safety of our patients and staff, including ensuring that we prevent as many negative effects of the lockdown on treatment outcome as possible.
In order to achieve this, we will be proceeding as follows:
1. We believe that it is essential that all orthodontic patients see a specialist orthodontist on their first visit as any prescription given before lockdown is likely to now be outdated. As such, all of our orthodontic patients will be seen by a specialist at their first visit back. We are aware of patients that have contacted us with problems over the past 10 weeks, and these will be prioritised according to need.
2. At this visit, we will review our treatment plan and agree any changes required. Where appropriate, wires will be trimmed or replaced, and elastics renewed to ensure that treatment progresses again where this is possible (which it will be for the majority of patients). Patients who contact us between now and re-opening to report pain will be seen to resolve the pain, but no other treatment will be provided in order to maintain fairness for those already waiting for an urgent appointment.
3. We are following British Orthodontic Society guidelines and avoiding any procedure that generates a potentially infected aerosol. For this reason, no re-sticking of braces will take place until all patients have had a review visit and the guidelines change. Similarly, no new braces will be placed, or braces removed as we would not be able to remove residual “glue” or take impressions for retainers.
4. “Emergency” patients of the other specialities will be seen in order to resolve any urgent issues, but no routine dentistry will be provided until all patients already under treatment have been seen.
5. All of our staff will be deployed in booking patients back into the diary. For this reason, we will not be taking telephone calls. PLEASE DO NOT CALL UNLESS YOU ARE IN PAIN. In this case, please leave a voicemail and our team will return your call as soon as they are able. If you do want to be seen as an emergency, please see point 2 – After resolving your pain you will still need to await your turn for an adjustment – Calling us will not bring these appointments forward.
6. The changes required of us mean that we will be operating very differently to normal. Please take time to familiarize yourself with the new instructions for attending the practice, which will be detailed on our website and on social media.
We thank you for your patience and understanding. We know that the situation is far from ideal, but we believe that this is the fairest way of managing our re-opening given the restrictions we are subject to.