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a blog by Chris Barrow


You will fall into one of these categories this morning:

  • English and exhausted after week#2 of delivering dentistry in PPE;

  • English and excited/anxious that you are about to start;

  • Scottish, Welsh or Northern Irish and cool with a side of panic at the thought of either going back very soon or enhancing the limited service you have been able to offer.

For the sake of everyone, let me share with you the dawning realisations from the first of these categories - the English who have been back for a fortnight:

  • It's tough to deliver dentistry in PPE. It's hot, it's sweaty and it feels like you are wearing oven gloves with restricted vision;

  • It's hard to decide which team members to bring back and which to leave on furlough but you'll be bringing back fewer than you expected at this stage;

  • There again, it might be problematic to get some to come back at all;

  • You may have ordered and paid for PPE but the logistics of delivery can still pose some last minute challenges;

  • The PPE shortages are not over; gloves and gowns will be next;

  • Fit testers and fit testing kits are like hen's teeth - and they are very grumpy about which masks they see as compliant;

  • Not everyone in the team is as fanatical about 8 till 8, 6 days a week as you are;

  • It's difficult to make a financial case for bringing your hygiene team back in the early stages of return to work;

  • Rather than writhing and wrestling about percentages and hourly rates, you should be focusing on minimising fallow time and maximising patient flow and production;

  • You might not be expecting a summer holiday this year but your team members still do.

The main thing to consider in all of this is one I've made reference to already in the blog - don't think you are returning to work in a blaze of glory and activity. It's a marathon.

It is important to manage the expectations of patients, team members and self-employed clinicians.

Your progress will be slow, it will gather momentum as you learn the new rituals and then , gradually, you will begin to adjust.

You've had over 12 weeks in lockdown.

You are now to going to invest the next 12 weeks in learning how to do your job again.

Sometime around the end of September we will be having a conversation about returning to something that resembles full profit in the last quarter of the year.

Be patient. It's going to be OK. You will get there.

Pace not race.

Get some rest this weekend - you are going to need it.

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