Dentists in Scotland and Ireland to scale back services

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Dentists in Scotland and Ireland have been advised to scale back services as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise. 

On the 18th March, the Scottish Government announced measures to free up hospital beds and staff, in addition to those designed to limit the spread of infection. As well as deploying additional members of staff and creating more intensive care beds, hospitals have cancelled routine procedures and appointments. Dental practices have been advised to postpone routine check-ups and aerosol generating procedures (known as AGPs). Examples include fillings, root canal treatment and scale and polish services. 

Dental patients will still be able to access urgent services, and those who require immediate attention will be treated in designated emergency clinics.

The Scottish Government is putting a financial package together to support independent dentists and practices that provide NHS services. Scotland’s chief dental officer, Tom Ferris, said that action is required to reduce the spread of the virus.

In Ireland, dentists have criticised leaders for a lack of clear guidance on opening policies, and many had already scaled back appointments before more severe social distancing measures were introduced. 

The move to postpone routine appointments comes after Welsh ministers announced similar measures.

Many dental practices in England remain open, but routine appointments are likely to be affected. Patients who have a slot booked are advised to contact their practice directly and to avoid leaving the house if they have symptoms of Covid-19 or they live with somebody who is displaying symptoms. Urgent care will be available for emergency cases even if practices shut temporarily. Dental patients are advised to check the latest news bulletins and information from NHS England.

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