Returning to Dentistry
A year today, Vermilion opened its doors again after an enforced 14 week closure period. One year on and we spoke with Dr David Offord, Specialist in Oral Surgery and Practice Principal about the impact that the pandemic has had on his clinics, the delivery of the available services, and the steps that have been taken to ensure the safe delivery of consistent clinical excellence throughout.
Hi David, it’s been one year since reopening of your clinics, how have things been at Vermilion?
We’ve been lucky. Across our three clinics, we’ve made 8,816 patient appointments in the period 29 June 2020 to 29 June 2021, which is an increase of 25% in numbers in comparison to the previous period. Some things have changed in terms of operations and with the introduction of new procedures and steps to ensure safety, but the Vermilion spirit is still there, which is very encouraging.
That’s great! How has your team handled these changes?
The Vermilion team have really upped their game this last year, and transitioned to this new norm very well – I’m really so proud of them all.
Brilliant. What challenges has your team faced?
As many other dental clinics, we have faced some challenging times, but we’re managing these by tackling them directly and as a team.
Our reception team now call patients one week prior to their appointments to ask them a series of screening questions about their possible exposure to the coronavirus. These are repeated face-to-face at reception on the patient’s arrival for their appointment.
Vigorous cleaning of our clinics following each appointment is also carried out by our clinical team, so that they can safely deliver services in endodontics, periodontics, dental hygiene – including Cavitron ultrasonic scaling – orthodontics, oral and implant surgery, implant prosthodontics, restorative dentistry and implant maintenance.
All staff are also required to take their own temperatures and wear the required PPE daily across all three of our sites, which brings us all peace of mind.
Of course. How have your patients handled these changes?
Unfortunately, in the early weeks after reopening, and again in January 2021, some three to four patients a week cancelled their appointments as they felt uncomfortable about coming in. Thankfully, we seldom hear that now, which is great. Patients see these appointments as essential.
Our core values at Vermilion are centred around delivering consistent clinical excellence with outstanding service, and this is what we consistently strive to achieve.
What challenges have you faced as an employer?
As an employer, my main priority is my staff’s safety and wellbeing. As dental clinics go, ours is quite a large team, with 10 dentists, two hygienists, 12 dental nurses, 12 administrative staff, but I’m relieved to say that with all the necessary steps taken, none of our team of 36 have been directly impacted by coronavirus.
That’s brilliant, and very reassuring! To anyone reading this, what would you say to them?
What this all show is that dentistry can be conducted safely in a world containing coronavirus – safe for patients and safe for our staff. It can be difficult to manoeuvre around all of the new regulations that have been introduced, but, as the saying goes: where there’s a will, there’s always a way!