Feb 4, 2021
Who can believe it is February already? I know time is supposed to go faster as you get older but the speed with which January went by was a bit ridiculous. In many ways that was a good thing though. I can now see the slight stretch in daylight in the evenings and it is lovely to see all the green shoots of snowdrops, crocus and daffodils poking through the ground. Of course, now we have a newly done up front garden we have sown bulbs and have exactly 8 snowdrops! No idea what has happen to the other bulbs I sowed. I know I have a long way to go to get to a display like this picture but here’s hoping for a better showing next year.
Covid vaccination and testing
News this month is that any of the team members who can have a vaccination for COVID 19 have now received their first dose. We are feeling very fortunate as health professionals to have been included in the first round and sincerely hope that the roll out continues at this pace so everyone can be vaccinated as soon as possible. I had mine done at Salisbury Cathedral last Saturday, which I believe from the news, was a record day for the number of vaccinations administered. I must say it was a very well organised and a well-run set up. There was a queue of about 70 people when I arrived at 9.04 and I thought I’d be there for hours. Including the 15-minute wait after receiving the vaccination, I as on my way again by 9.36. Every team member, from the people guiding you to your place in the queue to the administration, clinical and staff cleaning chairs after you had your 15-minute wait was so professional. I had fun in my post vaccine wait watching the naughty over 70’s getting nabbed as they tried to exit 10-12 minutes in to their wait time. Nice to see the naughty child lives in in so many.
Hearting news is the early results seem to indicate that not only does the vaccine reduce the risk of catching COVID-19 but may also reduce your ability to spread the virus. It has given a faint glimmer of hope for a return to something approximating normal. My dreams – sitting in the sun with a friend for a coffee; or in a pub garden on a warm evening with a glass of wine; visiting Bath, London or Bristol or walking by the coast. So many things that were so every day and now seem like veritable luxury.
We have also stepped up our efforts to keep everyone, team and clients, safe and are now carrying out lateral flow tests twice weekly. It has taken me a bit of time to get my head around the whole testing thing. Perhaps by now you have picked up on the fact that I am a Radio 4 fan and I heard a brilliant interview with a professor who put it all in context for me. Most of you probably have already figured this out but I was very slow on the uptake. There has been a lot of negative press about lateral flow tests and how inaccurate they are. What I failed to appreciate is that it is purely a screening device and not a diagnosis. A proper COVID-19 test is indicated if the lateral flow shows positive. The idea of them is that they can pick up on an infection before systems appear and/or in the absence of symptoms thus reducing the timespan in which and the number of people to which the infection can be passed.
We are now a month or so into our new system for electronic paperwork and this has been far from smooth but we are beginning to get a better idea of which bits work and which we need to ditch. In effect we will now only be using the new system to check your personal details are correct and for your medical history. Most of the other forms are standard, cannot be altered and not suited to our practice. My pet hate was the marketing form which talks about products and services. Hopefully you have noticed that it is a long time since we have done direct marketing for any products and services. The only communication we do other than appointment and treatments you have discussed with us is our newsletter.
Have you guessed by now that this is leading up to an apology? Some of you will be receiving a different permissions form on DocuSign . I know you have likely recently filled one in or will have completed it in the past but the new system has wiped those permissions. GDPR means we need to redo this with you and will probably nag you a little to get the form back. Your cooperation is appreciated with completing this exercise.
As you may be aware, we have also been running a different system with booking your routine hygienist appointment and we are about to tweak this again. From early March we will start to send out a recall email which will ask you to reply giving an idea of ideal days and times for you. We will then make and email you an appointment. We are finding it very time consuming to catch everyone on the phone to make the appointments so hopefully this will streamline things and mean you get fewer nagging calls, texts and emails from us. Patricia will be running this for me so the recall email will give both her working hours and her direct line if you need to call to sort an appointment.
Now the news that is both exciting and saddening in equal measure. Victoria is expecting her second child in July - exciting- so we lose her for another period of time- saddening, thus my earlier reference to team members who can receive the vaccine vaccin.
Lucy, Jodie and Patricia are hopefully very familiar to you now so continuity should continue with regard to the faces you see when you visit. We are advertising for a new reception team member so if you know anyone with a dental background who you feel would fit with our team please send them a link to our advert. The advert is available on Instagram, Facebook and the blog page on our website.
We continue to stock the edge protect hand and surface sanitiser and all of the usual toothbrushes, floss picks etc as normal. I hadn’t realised that many of you were waiting until you had an appointment to get your hands on these bits and pieces. We are more than happy for you to come and collect things as you need them rather than just at a booked appointment. Simply call reception to say when you will be in town and they will give you a time slot to arrive so that we don’t have numerous people arriving at the same time. If getting here is difficult we can arrange to drop things off if any of us live in the vicinity or post things to you - there may be a small fee to cover the cost of the postage.
So, here’s to warmer longer days and many more vaccines rolled out.
Keep well and safe.
Niamh, Rob and the Gentle Dental team.