Scarborough dentists vie for PPE so they can reopen safely

Scarborough’s dentists have been desperately trying to source enough PPE to be able to see patients again

Monday, 8th June 2020, 1:03 pm
Updated Monday, 8th June 2020, 1:06 pm
Peasholm Dental Practice. Principle dentist Andy Moran looks forward to getting back to work

The Government said dentists could treat patients face-to-face once more as of Monday this week.

But dentists here and across the country say obtaining the protective equipment they need to do that has been proving a challenge because it is in such high demand.

Despite some patients already having to wait months for fillings and tooth repairs, practices are limited as to what they can initially offer.

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Principal dentist at Peasholm Dental Practice Andy Moran, has been working in Scarborough since 1992.

His practice had around 150 people waiting for treatment at the beginning of this week.

He said: “We’re pleased to be re-open and have been desperate to be treating patients again. It is good to get back.

“I think the consensus is that we thought we’d be opening later on.

“Face masks are very important and very hard to get hold of.

“They’re also very expensive. They’ve gone up in price many, many times since six months ago.

“We have spent thousands of pounds buying PPE.”

He said all staff have to have PPE fit-tested but there have also been difficulties obtaining the solution needed for that.

His practice has some, but it’s a limited amount.

“Six months ago, you would have been able to buy buckets and buckets full for nothing,” he said.

His practice opened this week with the dentists seeing their most urgent cases first.

He warned they may not be able to see as many patients as usual because of the extra disinfecting requirements between each patient.

“The safety of patients and staff is paramount but that process does slow things down,” he said.

Dentists were told in March they could no longer see patients and have since been limited to triaging patients over the phone, advising on antibiotics and pain relief, or - in severe cases - referring them to an emergency hub carrying out tooth extractions.

Sasha Twyford, head nurse and practice manager at Apple Tree Dental Practice, has been giving out free temporary filling kits to help patients while they could not be treated.

She also said her practice was open this week, initially for emergencies.

“It’s been frustrating as dental professionals because we’re wanting to help patients but our hands have been tied," she said.