During lockdown our staff have provided emergency dental care, whilst others have been redeployed to support other front line services, COVID-19 patients and NHS colleagues
Institute staff, including from Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Orthodontics and Paediatric Dentistry, have continued to offer emergency services and clinics at the UCLH Eastman Dental Hospital. Staff have been involved at various levels of care, from triaging patients to providing clinical treatment whilst wearing appropriate PPE.
Patients come from diverse backgrounds; some are existing patients, others are essential healthcare workers, and many have come through NHS 111 service as our Hospital has been a designated Urgent Dental Centre following the lockdown at the end of March.
Professor Lambis Petridis said: "The main challenge has been to swiftly change the way we operated both on an academic and clinical level. As all dental practices in England have essentially stopped offering any face-to-face dental services to patients, following the advice of the Chief Dental Officer (CDO), many patients have been in limbo and in dire need for emergency treatment.
"All the teams have worked really hard to implement changes in the protocols of working in order to ensure patient and staff safety while fulfilling the very important role of offering emergency dental treatment to people desperately needing it."
Staff will continue to provide this emergency care until normal clinical activities can be resumed.
Staff support UCLH Intensive Care Unit (ICU)
Co-ordinator Professor Ian Needleman said: “It’s been our huge privilege to support ICU over the last few weeks.
“The unprecedented crisis means families cannot visit their critically-ill loved ones. The liaison service has resulted in almost all families receiving at least one medical update each day with a marked reduction in their anxiety as well as lowering the stress and burden on the medical team.
"The service was particularly significant when there were more than 50 patients intensive care."
As things have developed, the team has facilitated video calls - ‘virtual visits’ which are hugely popular with families and now number more than 30 per day.
They have also helped update oral care protocol for ICU and are helping to implement this with the wonderful nursing staff in a very challenging environment.
Professor Needleman continued “The team has also had to sadly facilitate tragic family visits at end of life. Personally, it is tough but the 11 members of the team from Periodontology and Endodontics have been inspirational to work with.
“Similarly, the support from ICU has been fantastic and we have been warmly welcomed as part of the family. There are many good learning experiences that I hope to bring back to the day job.”
Pictured above (L-R): Dr Federico Moreno Sancho, Dr Tamara Vega and Professor Ian Needleman