We appreciate that the last 18 months or so have not been easy for anybody, and in particular for all of us in the world of Dentistry. We know that you are all working hard to support the care needs of your patients and that your activity is necessarily reduced because of the current IPC requirements. However, we continue to see a marked increase in the numbers of patients contacting out of hours with dental emergencies. Chalmers are currently experiencing demand running at more than double that prior to the pandemic and this pattern shows no sign of abating. This, associated with reduced restrictions on social activity and greater freedom of movement and with a significant number of staff who are self-isolating, often associated with family exposure to COVID at school, is putting an acute strain on staffing the Out of Hours Service.

We appreciate that at the height of the pandemic many GDPs volunteered to come to Chalmers and other sites to support the UDCC activity, and we were extremely grateful to have these valued members of the team.

The UDCC service have put out 2 communications recently asking for paid volunteers to attend/work in Chalmers during the weekend, and they thank those who have already committed to some shifts in Chalmers already  ( 8 GDPs in total ).However, given the acute shortage they have , we are appealing again to see if we can enlist further volunteers.

We write being fully cognisant of the unprecedented pressure your own dental teams are currently working under but would nevertheless appeal for your assistance with managing dental emergencies at Chalmers , particularly at weekends , if you feel that you are in a position to help.

There remains great difficulty in managing dental care in all areas of the service in Lothian, but we are particularly aware of the difficulties that individuals new to the area have in accessing NHS care at present . Given the limited availability of appointments for managing our own patients currently it is not difficult to understand the reasons for the limited opportunities these patients have in finding a dentist and Chalmers is also currently coping with the immediate dental needs of these patients in managing acute dental care.

These increased numbers of unregistered patients and further pressure on existing staff by current numbers required to self-isolate does mean that help is urgently required at Chalmers, and we appeal to any GDPs who may be in a position to assist at this time .

We urgently require Dentists to help cover Out of Hours Urgent Care Activity at Chalmers, particularly at the weekends.

This would be on an ad-hoc basis with payment arranged through your current contract as per the SDR out of hours sessional fee.

The care that is required is general dentistry, dealing with urgent cases, as per SDCEP Guidance, and experience in working in this environment would be important.

Chalmers are planning to advertise some permanent salaried posts for this service in the near future, to which you will also be more than welcome to apply to when advertised. ( think of it as a try before your buy!!)

In the meanwhile, if you are interested in doing some adhoc sessions, payable through your schedule, please email your name, your practice and contact details to christopher.carter@nhslothian.scot.nhs.uk

Thanks very much for your help

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