Most dental professionals are used to dealing with high pressure situations, stressful decisions, and anxious patients, but the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified these challenges to an unprecedented level.
In recent weeks there has been a torrent of new challenges and guidance for the profession to deal with, including limitations on direct patient contact, an unfamiliar reliance on telephone triage and announcements encouraging dentists and dental care professionals to support the wider NHS.
The current situation is putting a strain on dental professionals, their families and practices. It is important to consider the following points if you feel your health is suffering.
- If you suspect your judgement or performance could be adversely impacted by your health, you must consult a suitably-qualified colleague (such as your GP, occupational health doctor or psychiatrist) and follow their advice in making changes to your practice.
- Don't self-prescribe to alleviate symptoms such as exhaustion or anxiety, as this can be unsafe and is contrary to GDC guidance. Instead, get objective medical advice.
- Discuss your concerns with trusted colleagues and seek their support. They may be able to ease any work pressures you face.
- Seek help early if you are involved in a clinical incident or you feel a complaint is likely to be made against you. We can help advise members before a response or statement is required.
Sources of support
There are also many existing sources of support for members.
This guidance was correct at publication 18/05/2020. It is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.