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RCSEd Dental Ambassadors on COVID-19: Insights from Birmingham Dental Hospital

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04 May 2020

As part of our RCSEd Dental Ambassadors on COVID-19 series, we spoke with Dr Priya Chohan, Early Career Ambassador for East Midlands and Locum Appointment for Oral Surgery and Sedation at Birmingham Dental Hospital, who gave us insights on how the hospital and her team are adapting to the challenges presented by the outbreak.

Priya  has been a member of the College since 2017 and is currently working as a Clinical Fellow in Oral Surgery in Northamptonshire.

How has the COVID-19 outbreak affected your Dental Hospital and patient treatments? 

"I currently work at Birmingham Dental Hospital and all routine dental care has been stopped, we are restricted to providing only urgent/emergency treatment for patients. Only patients who are not showing symptoms of Covid-19 and are not self-isolating if someone in their household is showing symptoms are being treated. We are currently triaging patients directed from NHS 111 and who are directly calling the hospital. In these cases we are following the advice provided by Public Health England and providing advice, analgesia and antibiotics as a first line option. If it is felt these are not appropriate, ideally non-aerosol generating procedure’s are preferred at first if it is deemed appropriate. Only as an emergency we are conducting aerosol-generating procedure’s (AGP) on patients wearing the appropriate PPE which includes surgical scrubs, an apron, gloves, a surgical hat and an FFP3 mask.

Only certain staff members that have been fit tested for FFP3 masks are able to carry out treatments involving AGP’s. This will be dependant on the availability of masks within the Trust. To protect patients and staff we are currently not conducting face to face assessments and they are being triaged via video link by a clinician. Senior staff are involved in this to allow a robust triage process."

What measures is the hospital taking to increase standards in care and hygiene?

"In the hospital service I currently work in we are donning full PPE with FFP3 masks for AGP’s and restricting this to emergency cases only. We are maintaining strict infection control standards before and after treatments and controlling the amount of footfall we have in the building. We are restricting patients in the waiting room and ensuring that both staff and patients are distanced appropriately. Patients are asked to sanitise their hands on entering the building and staff are currently following a rota to restrict the number of people in the building."

How is the dental team adapting and what are the main priorities established during these difficult times?

"It has certainly been a challenging time for the whole hospital team especially when we are restricted in the care we can provide for our patients. At present our priority is to ensure our patient’s concerns are addressed and that necessary urgent treatment is carried out safely ensuring staff and patients are protected. Teamwork and leadership have been at the forefront of our priorities, and as we are a hospital with many dental specialities we are using a multi-speciality approach to manage complex patients as a team. Members of the dental team are preparing for deployment into the community to assist wider healthcare teams after they have received appropriate training."

To learn more about our Dental Ambassadors, visit this page.


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