A Message from RCSEd Faculty of Dental Surgery Dean
13 January 2021
Dear Colleagues and Friends,
This is the first issue of our new initiative to keep you informed of what is happening all over the world with our dental family. It is especially important we keep you included in what we are doing for you here at the college at this time of extreme concern all over the world.
As I write this column, the number of deaths from COVID 19 in the UK has reached over a thousand per day and in some parts of London as many as 1 in 20 people are diagnosed as COVID19 positive. The UK is back in lockdown, yet Dentists have not been asked to ‘close shop’ as they did in the first spike of the pandemic and to many this has meant more worry and stress. The new variants of the virus certainly have stretched the intensive care departments to a maximum and there are double the number of people being treated in hospital than back in April of last year.
Internationally the World Health Organization reports there are nearly 89 million confirmed cases and 2 million deaths but reporting in some countries is not accurate, and in others non-existent.
I am proud to be part of a profession that has an impeccable history of safety regarding infection control and the minor changes we needed to make to gear up for dealing with COVID19 were not as big an issue as in many other sectors of the medical-related professions. The earlier problems with access to the correct PPE seem to have calmed down now and patient care is resuming though not at the volumes seen pre-pandemic. We still face the issues of downtime between patients as we manage the issue of aerosols in the operatory and there is no current financial support to improve that situation from any of the devolved governments. This delay in access to treatment is something we will be raising with the health authorities to make sure we are not forgotten or penalised in any way for keeping the patients and our staff safe.
At the same time, we as a profession have been asked to support the intensivists with many of our hospital consultant and specialist colleagues alongside the hospital based dental care professionals being redeployed as assistants on the frontline of the fight for life for many patients and families. These are brave and selfless individuals to whom the whole country should be grateful.
The world over, members of the dental team face not only the pandemic themselves but constantly worry about the risk of carrying the virus home to loved ones who might be elderly or in any of the high-risk groups. We at the College are looking into ways of helping to support your wellbeing and have opened discussions with a group looking into the mental health issues related to providing face to face dentistry in these bleak times.
On a more positive note, the different immunisation options provide us with hope of a better, more normal, future and if you are given the chance to be immunised then grab it with both hands. Each Tuesday morning, I have been invited to and attend with our President a meeting of the UK’s key leaders in healthcare provision with Steven Powis, the National Medical Director for England, and it is very clear the safety of these vaccines is not in question. This meeting keeps us up to date with the very latest information and plans for managing the pandemic.
To support you we need to hear from you, please feel free to e-mail me directly at email@example.com. Look out for news of our exciting ‘1st World Dental Conference’ which will be held online in September of this year and which will provide all the dental team with essential verifiable continuing professional development.