Vaughan Gething MS has confirmed the Welsh government considers dentists as critical workers, allowing them to continue working during lockdown.
In a letter to the Independent Dental Association Wales (IDAW), the Minister for Health and Social Services points out dentists and their teams were not specifically named on the critical workers list. And that this might impact dental professionals accessing education and childcare provision for children.
However, he points out the list does include ‘support and specialist staff to maintain the health and social care sector’. The letter concludes the government doesn’t plan to change from the current amber phase of recovery for dentistry.
‘The IDAW is glad the Welsh government finally acknowledges our essential role as critical workers,’ Helen Rimmer from IDAW says.
‘This will allow our teams to continue to travel to work during the fire-break lockdown.
‘The CDO of Wales, Dr Colette Bridgman, and Public Health Wales determines our current SOP to be safe for both dental teams and patients alike. Therefore, the amber alert stands during the lockdown.
‘We welcome this news, which allows us to continue treating our patients safely and prevents further disruption to their care.’
Yesterday First Minister Mark Drakeford announced Wales would go into a national lockdown from 23 October to 9 November.
As part of the lockdown, people must stay at home, with only essential travel permitted. Hotels, pubs, restaurants, and non-essential shops must shut.
The Welsh government hopes this ‘short sharp’ lockdown would slow the virus down and give the NHS more time. It also provided a package of almost £300 million to help support businesses.
‘Everyone in Wales will be required to stay at home,’ Mr Drakeford told a press conference.
‘This means working from home wherever that is possible. The only exceptions are critical workers and jobs where working from home is simply not possible.
‘All non-essential retail, leisure, hospitality and tourism businesses will close just as they had to during the March lockdown.’
Despite remaining open, CDO for Wales, Dr Colette Bridgman is reminding dentistry to play its part in the lockdown.
In correspondence with the IDAW, she reminds dentistry to ‘play its part’ by not offering non-essential dentistry.
‘Dentistry will remain in amber alert for the lockdown,’ Dr Bridgman says. ‘For the moment healthcare is included in allowable travel and reason to leave home.
‘However, we need to play our part in dentistry and not offer non-essential visits.
‘Necessary treatment is prioritised as per amber alert and routine assessment of those with risk factors is a justifiable reason for an appointments.
‘Should there be any further developments that affect dentistry, an official announcement will be made.’
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