I’ve written these days as one entry, not because nothing has happened, but because I haven’t had time to sit down until now (day 17) to metaphorically put pen to paper. The days are all a bit blurred anyhow as the routine seems to be exactly the same, such that one day now fees completely like the next.
I’m not sure how many people are aware, but on Sunday 5th April a new Facebook group, the ‘Independent Dentist Group’ appeared. I obviously decided to take some interest, and before I knew it I appeared to have been invited to take a more involved role with what was going on behind the face of this new group. Not to bore people too much, this group has developed very rapidly into a unified front to try to represent any private dentists as we move forward through the Covid-19 crisis.
Before I know it, I’m suddenly involved with another round of Zoom meetings with people who I already know, and others I only know from reputation. There is a huge volley of emails and WhatsApp messages that now come from this embryonic group, and before long it seems there is a unity of opinion and spirit that I haven’t experienced in private dentistry in my career. I certainly can’t give away too much at this stage, but because of the connections of many of the other members I’m hopeful this group will get some significant traction over the next few days and weeks, and the private sector of dentistry will get a long-needed voice.
As a result of this group, the amount of work that people have been doing means that those involved are becoming quite busy. It’s not the first time since this whole Covid-19 saga kicked off that I have wondered how I managed to find time to do any clinical dentistry in the past. This week has seen me involved with at least five Zoom meetings, including another LDC meeting for Nottinghamshire, and the associated reading and analysis of the documents that come from that. It does bring it home to me that the amount of reading I used to do was at the expense of my own family and personal time, so I’ve tried to make the evenings during the last few weeks more family-time. However, I have still failed dismally.
I have done nothing dental now for at least four hours. That’s actually my longest break from dentistry since the middle of March 2020, which was about six months ago wasn’t it?
I think many people are now at the point where they are starting to wonder what might have to happen when they reopen their practices, and when this might actually be. Given the speed with which the Urgent Dental Centres have sprung into life, I somewhat cynically suspect we could actually be open before some of them get all they need in order to start operating. However, as the days pass, it is still apparent that we have no real information, guidance or even any bigger planning in place to reboot our practices yet, and I certainly don’t think our will be much help to the private sector anyhow.
Given her recent position stated in the webinar (that even managed to make vociferous people like me speechless), she has not remit over the private dental sector, so one can only wonder where the information we need will come from. One only hopes that any recommendations are actually properly evidence-based rather than something produced by a committee of non-clinicians, who are probably more interested in voting whether to have plain or milk chocolate hobnobs at the next meeting than considering the technicalities of what wet fingered clinicians have to do. I’m still waiting (like I suppose many others are) for the real evidence behind HTM01-05 helping to prevent all these cases of CJD that were going to appear. One thing does seem certain, the precautions we take for Covid-19 are likely to be different again because of its method of transmission. We don’t know what dentistry will look like when we do return, and without evidence, I think it would be wrong to even suggest solutions and protocols yet. One thing is for sure though, there will be a lot of patients to see after this has all died down.
I think we just have to relax as much as we can at the moment as there are so many unknowns for us to deal with. I promised to take off the entire weekend from emails and dentistry, and apart from this blog entry, I have done nothing dental now for at least four hours. That’s actually my longest break from dentistry since the middle of March 2020, which was about six months ago wasn’t it?