It’s no secret that working as a dentist at Affordable Dental Solutions Limerick or anywhere else demands good hygiene and cleanliness, and that includes having the proper personal protective equipment (PPE), face masks among them.
The problem is that, according the British Dental Association, the outbreak of the Coronavirus, newly designated as COVID-19, is an imminent risk to the UK’s dental services. According to a spokesperson, there’s a shortage of face masks due to the outbreak, which is expected to cause larger clinics in the country to reduce clinical time sometime around early March 2020. With that in mind, the UK dental industry desperately needs an increase in the supply of face masks, which is why the BDA has been working hard with the government to deal with the issue.
The BDA explained that China, where the outbreak first started, is the world’s leading sanitary mask manufacturer, and a number of suppliers have tripled their prices due to the outbreak.
All dental professionals operating in England, Northern Ireland, and Wales, like those working in Affordable Dental Solutions Limerick, are required to wear PPE including face masks when caring for patients. In Scotland, meanwhile, disposable masks or reusable visors are acceptable.
Masks have recently been rationed by suppliers, which mean that practices usually can’t get more than 2 boxes a day, which amount to 100 masks. According to the BDA, the average UK practice sees about 28 patients daily, and requires at least 3 boxes a week, depending on how few their patients are.
BDA Chair Mick Armstrong stated that their interest is the safety of the patients, who are risking disruption in their care. Unless they see an increase in supply of PPE, then they simply don’t have a choice but to down drills and stop working.
Other countries have been dealing with similar issues, with the Australian Dental Association sending a message to the BDA saying that they’re dealing with the same conditions.
The BDA spokesperson stated that the issue is global, with many countries being hit by panic buying from the public, or are reliant on supplies from Chinese suppliers, which aren’t being exported due to the conditions in the country.