ACCESSING DENTAL SERVICES IN THE BLACK COUNTRY
In line with national guidance issued in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, dental practices in the Black Country are currently closed for routine “face to face” dental appointments.
People seeking help with dental problems should not visit local dental practices in person but instead contact their usual practice by phone, between the hours of 9am -5pm, Monday to Friday, for information for advice on alternative arrangements in place. Outside normal hours or if a patient does not have a dentist they should contact NHS 111.
All local practices are offering telephone or video-link consultations and can prescribe pain killers and antibiotics if needed. The practices will triage patients and be able to refer on those in need of urgent face to face treatment to an Urgent Dental Care site where they can be seen. These referrals will be reviewed at a referral hub prior to being sent on to the most appropriate local site.
People seeking help should not visit A&E departments or GP surgeries for dental care.
There are currently 4 operational urgent dental centres (UDCs) in Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell for patients who are showing no Covid-19 symptoms. More local sites may be opened as necessary in the future depending on the demand.
Additional services are already available through the Birmingham Community Healthcare Foundation Trust or the Wolverhampton Community Dental Service (CDS). These services will continue to support the system in dealing with more complex cases or shielded or vulnerable patients with additional needs.
There are also a further 4 specialist sites for Walsall, Dudley, Wolverhampton and Sandwell who will treat only vulnerable patients. Both Community Dental Services are continuing to provide urgent care to many of the shielded patients already using their service.
For safety, a separate site is operational in Birmingham and is designated for patients who are possible or confirmed COVID-19 patients, including patients with symptoms, or those living in their household. A further site is being considered in the Black Country but numbers at present needing treatment are very low.
No patient walk in services are permitted as we must reduce the risk to the dental profession.
It is very important for their own safety that patients are clear about whether they have a temperature, are symptomatic, self isolating or in a vulnerable or shielded group.
We will continue to monitor activity going to these UDCs and should further centres be required due to patient need, this will be addressed by NHS England and NHS Improvement.
If you have any local intelligence of this process not being followed please contact the dental team via ENGLAND.email@example.com whom can investigate and resolve any issues.