Thank you all for the efforts you made to continue to provide urgent dental treatment to patients during the snowy conditions at the end of last week.
On Friday, we heard about a dentist walking in the snow for over an hour to get to work, and another who was able to get in and then provide urgent appointments to patients triaged by NHS 111.
Of course, there were other cases where practice staff made it in, but then in the interest of patient safety decided they needed to close the practice. For these cases, the BDA had helpfully provided advice regarding actions to take – like notifying us and setting the answer-machine message to direct patients to an alternative provider you have an arrangement with.
The BDA advice stated:
In the event of a recurrence of such adverse conditions, please note that as the BDA state, it is a contractual responsibility to inform us as soon as possible of any closure to your practice within contracted hours. Knowing which practices are closed will allow us to identify the scale of the problem and possible impact on patients, and to plan accordingly.
Although the BDA advice above says about signposting patients to an alternate provider and/or NHS 111, in the first instance you should try to make arrangements with an alternative provider for patients who need urgent care; if not possible, then telephone triage via a mobile phone could be an option; with the final option being directing patients to 111, having spoken to us first.
Thankfully, the bad weather (unless you like snow!) didn’t last for too long, but no matter how long the disruption lasted, we decided that we ought to praise and thank those who struggled on and braved the conditions so that the service could continue in some form for those patients who needed it.
The Dental Contracts Team