AN MP is urging Government to set out plans for when dentists can return to work amid fears patients are being left in pain without appropriate care.
Tatton MP Esther McVey said dentists were more than capable of assessing risk and should be allowed to open if they wish.
Last night she wrote to the Department of Health calling for a timetable so dentists can plan future care provision.
She said: “The Prime Minister has set out the roadmap for the next phase of our response to Covid-19 including setting out when he expects hairdressers, some shops and other facilities to be open but there has been no mention of dentists. Speaking to dentists they are concerned there are patients that are in pain and cannot get the appropriate level of care they need or access emergency provision.
“Dentists are highly skilled healthcare professionals and they are fully aware of measures needed to protect themselves and their patients as they do this every day. They will know what additional measures they need to take or put in place as a result of Coronavirus to ensure both their safety and that of the patient, so it is vital they are allowed back to work or at least given a timetable for when surgeries can re-open.”
As it stands most dentists are providing patients with advice and antibiotics over the phone where appropriate and those in need of emergency treatment are being referred to urgent care hubs, located in different spots around the country.
Ms McVey said: “Not everyone needing emergency treatment will be able to travel to one of the urgent care hubs or do not meet the very strict criteria to access the treatment and therefore are having to go without treatment. I am also sure there will be people who may be in pain and are not seeking help which stores up problems for the future. In addition to the emergencies, routine check ups have not been happening for months and dentists play a vital role in ensuring oral health and often spot problems early and all this work is building up.”
More than 150 dentists have signed an open letter to Health Secretary Matt Hancock calling for surgeries to re-open due to the rise of dangerous DIY dentistry.
Dentists in other countries have started to re-open, including those in Switzerland, Norway and Denmark.