University running emergency on campus hub to assist NHS Emergency helpline with patient treatment
The University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) has stepped in to assist the NHS with emergency dental treatment for patients in Lancashire during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Working closely with the NHS and FMCS Emergency Dental Services, UCLan has set up a special emergency treatment centre on its campus in Preston City Centre to assist patients who contact the NHS emergency out of hours service.
The centre is being managed by staff from the University’s School of Dentistry, including receptionists, dental nurses and a clinic manager, all of who are supporting dentists and specialists from FMCS (North West).
Since opening the UCLan emergency hub has already treated over 100 patients suffering with severe dental pain and is now establishing itself as a vital support facility for emergency dental services in Lancashire during the Coronavirus pandemic.
All patients being treated by the UCLan dental hub are referred directly from the Lancashire emergency dental helpline and include many residents who are without a dentist or who are struggling to access an appointment with their existing dentist.
From June 8, dentists in Lancashire have been able to re-open to patients. However all have to operate under strict guidelines and are only able to treat a very limited number of patients per day.
"The UCLan team of nurses and receptionists have been vital in setting up and supporting this service. Everyone is pitching in doing additional shifts, unsociable hours and giving up their weekends to help cover in this difficult period."
As part of its service, the UCLan dental hub is providing a limited paediatric dental service for children, preparing them for extractions and other emergency treatment at Royal Preston Hospital.
UCLan Dental Clinic Manager Jane Pearson, who is managing the new emergency hub, said: “The service is already proving very important in providing additional out of hours emergency dental provision in Lancashire while other urgent treatment sites are being used specifically for Covid-19 positive or symptomatic patients.
“The UCLan team of nurses and receptionists have been vital in setting up and supporting this service. Everyone is pitching in doing additional shifts, unsociable hours and giving up their weekends to help cover in this difficult period. The team effort has been amazing.”
Staff have also had to adapt quickly to new PPE requirements, substantially enhanced cleaning procedures and operating guidelines for when patients arrive for treatment.
Jane added: “With all the changes and current restrictions it’s a very different process to what we are used to and with the pandemic we have had to quickly establish very strict new safety procedures for any treatment we provide to patients
“It is very challenging but we have a fantastic team supporting both the external dentists and the local community during this period.”
Anyone seeking emergency dental treatment during the pandemic should contact their own dentist or the Lancashire Emergency Dental Helpline on 0300 1234 010.