I needed an emergency dental appointment last week although my visit ran up against an astonishing Catch 22 because my dentist was unable to carry out any effective treatment.
Because the rules laid down by the Scottish Government require new respirators to be used for any 'aerosol treatments' and this new protective equipment will not be checked and approved until 10 July 2020 at the very earliest.
Now you would have though that this would have been done already during the long months of lockdown.
But apparently not and the best that can be done by our world class health system is pain relief and antibiotics - until further notice.
Scots dentists warn they will have to stay shut due to Covid-19 restrictions
Dental practices should re-open today for specific treatments but some dentists say they won't be working again any time soon due to new rules and fear for their long term future.
Dentists have warned many practices will be keeping their doors shut today despite getting the green light to reopen.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Thursday that dentists can treat patients only for procedures that don’t create aerosol particles, which happens when drills are used.
But dental practice owners say patients will be left suffering for longer because of the hurdles the Scottish Government has put in the way for them getting back to business.
Dr Gillian Leslie, spokeswoman for the Scottish Dental Practice Owners group, said: “NHS patients in some health board areas that are seen by their dentist from today and who need treatment involving a drill, will need to travel – with their dentist and a dental nurse – to a hub and be treated there.
“That means dentists on islands, for example, will need to get on a ferry and travel to a hub on the mainland to treat their patient, then return the same day. Some could end up making 100-mile round trips. It is utter madness.”
Leslie, from East Lothian, added: “Some dentists don’t drive, so will need to travel to hubs on public transport to treat NHS patients.
“But if patients are willing to pay privately for their treatment, they can be treated in the dental practice. It is utterly unbelievable.”
NHS practices will also only be supplied with enough basic PPE to treat 10 emergency patients a day for the foreseeable future, while private practices can treat as many as they want with the correct PPE.
Leslie said: “How will it be possible to work through the backlog of patients and new problems when we only have enough PPE to treat 10 patients a day? It’s unviable from a business point of view. Practices will close.
“It’s not just a case of getting back into the surgery and turning on the lights. We need to have health board approval and get through a mountain of paperwork before we can reopen.
“Hundreds of us just haven’t had the time to prepare. We feel the Scottish Government is trying to push NHS dentistry out and is creating a two-tier system. I’ve spoken on the phone to dentists who are in bits.
“Many of them are looking for other jobs because they won’t be able to survive this. The Scottish Government is encouraging dentists to offer treatment privately, which suggests they are happy to privatise the sector, giving patients less choice.”
The Record recently revealed the depth of the dental disaster facing Scotland. A poll found 51 per cent of the 400 practice owners asked fear they are heading for bankruptcy.
Mental Dental 2 (12/06/20)
I think it's astonishing that dental practices in Scotland are struggling to reopen because of ongoing problems with PPE.
I mean, the Coronavirus epidemic has only been at the absolute forefront of everyone's minds for the past 5 months.
So how is it possible that a lack of PPE can cause such problems at this stage.
The Times reports below on more discussions within the Scottish Government and apparently 'something' is going to happen later this month, in June 2020, yet no one seems to know exactly what's planned even after all these weeks and months.
Coronavirus in Scotland: Lack of PPE for dentists delays return
Practices in the UK have been asked to reopen on Monday but surgeries north of the border will resume later - ALAMY
BY Helen Puttick - The Times
Dental practices in Scotland will not reopen to NHS patients from next Monday as had been widely trailed.
Practices across England have been asked to reopen on Monday but anxiety about whether they are ready to start accepting patients has been raised.
According to the British Dental Association, Tom Ferris, the Chief Dental Officer for Scotland, has said practices north of the border will now open later than provisionally scheduled.
A spokesman for the BDA said: “This is to allow enough time for practices and NHS boards to make the necessary preparations, as well as finalise the funding model and secure sufficient PPE.
“The reopening date is subject to further internal Scottish government discussions, but will be some time this month. We expect the chief dental officer will send a letter to the profession this week with an update on the indicative timescale for reopening.”