Dentists

Dental practices are beginning to reopen from 8 June 2020. However, to ensure patient safety and observe social distancing, services may be operating differently to usual.

In the first instance you should telephone your normal practice for advice, before attending in person without an appointment. As part of the measures being taken to ensure your safety and that of the dental team, the treatments available may differ from practice to practice, depending on the staff and equipment available at the time.  Your dentist will make arrangements to see you, or refer you to an urgent care dental service.

An urgent care dental service is continuing to operate both in and out of hours (after 5pm, weekends and Bank Holidays).  If you think you need urgent dental treatment and are unable to contact your own dentist, you should use the NHS 111 online service/call 111. You can also use the 111 service if you do not have a dentist.

What will happen if I am referred to the urgent care dental service?

You will be offered an initial telephone appointment, or video link, to understand the problem you are having. They will give you advice and guidance on how to manage it.

The initial phone assessment will also help decide whether you need to be seen immediately, or within 24 hours.

Conditions needing immediate treatment might include:

  • Dental infection/fever/swelling, especially if it might affect the airway
  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Injury

If during that initial appointment it is determined your need is urgent, you will be referred to the Gloucestershire Urgent Care dental hub, or in some cases a hospital.

What will the Gloucestershire Urgent Care Dental Hub do?

The Urgent Care Dental Hub will contact you and offer a video consultation and, if clinically required, a face-to-face emergency appointment. They will explain what treatments they are allowed to do and if you need to see a dentist, give you an appointment time and a specific site to attend. This will be based on any additional needs you have, including if you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.


Opticians

All routine optical services are suspended across the UK until advised otherwise. This means that where you do not have any new symptoms, sight tests that have been previously scheduled will be postponed or cancelled. There is, however, help available and in the first instance you should contact your usual optician who will be able to give advice over the phone and refer you to the most appropriate place if further support is required.

Essential eye care

This includes, but is not limited to, appointments for patients who would not normally be considered to be emergencies but where in the practitioner’s professional judgement, a delay in an examination may be detrimental to a patient’s sight or wellbeing. This may include patients who have broken or lost their glasses or contact lenses and need a replacement pair to function.

Urgent or emergency eye care

It’s important not to ignore serious eye issues and problems with vision. If you have any concerns, or have noticed any unusual issues with your eyes, don’t put off seeking advice. Symptoms may include:

  • A sudden change in vision, or loss of vision
  • Eye pain or red eye
  • Flashes and floaters.

If you’re experiencing any of these, or other symptoms that you are concerned about, you should phone your optician or NHS 111 who will advise you on what to do next.