University medics bite back amid Covid dental crisis

University medics in Preston have been getting their teeth into plans to ease the effect of the coronavirus pandemic and locals.

By Sonja Astbury
Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 12:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 1:22 pm
The UCLan Covid-19 emergency dental centre
The UCLan Covid-19 emergency dental centre

The University of Central Lancashire has stepped up support for the NHS by offering emergency dental treatment for patients on campus.

The city centre campus is home to UCLan's acclaimed school of dentistry and working closely with the NHS and urgent care provider FMCS Emergency Dental Services, has set up a special emergency treatment centre to help patients who contact the emergency out of hours service.

It has already treated more than 100 patients and is fast becoming a vital support facility for emergency dental services in Lancashire during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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All patients being treated by the UCLan dental hub are referred directly from the Lancashire emergency dental helpline and include many people who either don't have a dentist or who are struggling to get an appointment with their own.

The UCLan dental hub is providing a limited paediatric dental service for children, preparing them for extractions and other emergency treatment at Royal Preston Hospital.

The centre is being managed by staff from the School of Dentistry, including receptionists, dental nurses and a clinic manager, all of who are supporting dentists and specialists from FMCS (North West).

UCLan dental clinic manager Jane Pearson is managing the new emergency hub, and said: "The service is already proving very important in providing additional out of hours emergency dental provision in Lancashire while other urgent treatment sites are being used specifically for Covid-19 positive or symptomatic patients.

"The UCLan team of nurses and receptionists have been vital in setting up and supporting this service. Everyone is pitching in doing additional shifts, unsociable hours and giving up their weekends to help cover in this difficult period. The team effort has been amazing."

From June 8, dentists in Lancashire have been able to re-open to patients. However all have to operate under strict guidelines and are only able to treat a very limited number of patients per day. So, Jane added, the UCLan team had to adapt quickly to the PPE and Lansing requirements to meet demand.

She said: "With all the changes and current restrictions it’s a very different process to what we are used to and with the pandemic we have had to quickly establish very strict new safety procedures for any treatment we provide to patients

"It is very challenging, but we have a fantastic team supporting both the external dentists and the local community."

Anyone needing emergency dental treatment during the pandemic should contact their own dentist or the Lancashire Emergency Dental Helpline on 0300 1234 010.