A dentist working in an urgent dental care centre has spoken of receiving threats from members of the public experiencing dental pain.
Mohsan Ahmad, whose practice is operating as a UDC in Greater Manchester, has called for improvements to the referral system as pressure for dental treatment increases.
He said that one patient even threatened to call the police and tell them he will hurt somebody if he was refused treatment.
‘Ideally, every UDC should be an AGP site, however until the lack of PPE is resolved, we should begin the process of creating a network of non-AGP UDCs,’ he said.
‘The referral system isn’t great. Dentists are not following the triple As properly – the referral forms are often inadequate. I know quite a few dentists don’t have access to patient records as they’re working from home. If we don’t get enough information, we can’t carry out treatment.
‘We’re handing out feedback today that will go around dental practices and detail what their responsibilities are to help make the process smoother and more efficient.
‘Those practices that are offering AGP are reluctant to take patients on and only do if it’s absolutely necessary due to the lack of PPE. There needs to be more structure when it comes to triaging.
‘For example, we had one case where a dentist had referred a patient, saying they had pain in their front teeth but didn’t want any taken out. That was the only information we were given and when we called the practice, we were told the dentist wasn’t in until later in day.
‘We’ve received some threats from suffering patients. One continuously called up our call handling service and told us if we didn’t see him he would call the police and tell them he’s going to hurt somebody.’
This comes as a dental crisis charity has received a sixfold increase in applications for financial aid.
Mr Ahmad, whose wife is working shifts at the same UDC, said his team at the UDC needs to be given more information about referred patients.
He said: ‘‘I have always known dentists aren’t always great at writing referrals but being at the other end of it now, it’s very disappointing.
‘I have a lot of respect for clinicians and oral surgeons who receive referrals. Of course, I feel for dentists too as they can’t do their job as they would like to be doing it at the moment.
‘We need them to do the triple As but we also need them to give more information including a full medical history and appropriate radiographs. It is paramount we work together during this unique and challenging period for our profession.’
He called on the creation of more non-AGP sites to help ease pressure as the dental industry adapts to the current climate.
‘It will also help practices develop a strategy on how they can start to operate back to normality,’ he added.
‘I also don’t see why private practices couldn’t potentially get together and share their staff to create UDCs to see their patients during the Pandemic, offering the same non-AGP treatments.’
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