Since the Prime Minister announced social distancing measures to slow down the spread of COVID-19, a set of restrictions on daily activity to contain the spread of the virus were introduced. As a result of these restrictions, the Department of Health and Social Care has taken the decision to suspend all non-urgent dental activity.
NHS dental practices are providing telephone advice and triage. All dental practices are responsible for triaging patients who contact the practice seeking access to urgent dental care regardless of whether they are considered ‘regular’ patients of the practice. This means patients that do not have a regular NHS dentist can still access urgent care.
The dentist will assess the patient over the telephone, including giving advice and, if needed, prescriptions for painkillers or antibiotics which can then be collected from, or delivered by, a local pharmacy. If the dentist feels a “face-to-face” appointment is clinically necessary, and essential, then they will make arrangements for treatment to be carried out at a local urgent dental centre.
Patients with an urgent or emergency dental condition must not attend any clinics without being telephone triaged first. This system also helps manage the flow to treatment centres and avoid queues (in line with social-distancing measures).
There are clinics across the North East and Yorkshire, with a number of locations in each Local Authority area. This ensures local access during this period and all centres have measures in place to minimise any risk from Covid-19.
Patients are asked not to visit A&E departments with non-urgent dental problems.
Outside of normal dental practice hours and at weekends, patients should contact NHS111 to access advice and support, following which a “face-to-face” appointment will be made, if clinically necessary.
Community dental services (CDS) retain responsibility for triaging patients with additional and complex health or social care needs, who contact the service seeking access to urgent dental care.
For further information, please contact the NHS England and NHS Improvement local dental teams as follows:
North East and North Cumbria - England.email@example.com
Yorkshire and Humber – firstname.lastname@example.org