COVID-19 Wales: New guidance on the use of Personal Protection Equipment

Sent on behalf of the Chief Dental Officer

Dear Colleagues,

Given the concerns raised by front line NHS staff regarding the use and availability of personal protection equipment (PPE) respective UK Governments have been working with, NHS and Public Health leaders to revise guidance about PPE for NHS clinicians treating patients with suspected or confirmed coronavirus COVID-19.

A rapid review of existing guidance has been undertaken. Discussions have also been taking place between the 4 x UK CDOs to ensure a collaborative approach to this issue in dentistry.

I understand that the new guidance will be issued today, 2 April 2020, at 12noon. We intend to publish some supplemental guidance for dental teams in Wales so everyone has clarity of what it means for them and their teams.

The guidance advises some key changes which include:

  • In some circumstances some PPE can be worn for an entire session and doesn’t need to be changed between patients
  • When carrying out aerosol generating procedures (AGPs) clinicians should wear a higher level of protective equipment, including sessional use gowns covered by single use aprons.
  • When there is community transmission of coronavirus, staff should use gloves, apron, surgical mask and eye protection for all patients

This means that dental teams need to adopt these guidelines in RED alert phase Urgent Dental Care Centres and in the GDS/CDS surgeries and clinics across Wales (that continue to see Urgent cases whose treatment cannot be delayed), and that together with the hygiene and social distancing measures we are all by now familiar with offer adequate protection for dental teams and their patients.

It is also important that the guidelines are followed properly and that PPE is only used as specified. For every piece of PPE kit used unnecessarily, a piece of kit is unavailable to staff most at risk.

For more information regarding infection prevention and control please visit the latest guidance issued by Public Health England