Tayside dental staff from closed down local surgeries have been trained in taking blood samples from potentially at-risk patients during the pandemic.
They have been trained in phlebotomy techniques to take blood at special units relcated to sites in Dundee, Arbroath and Perth to protect people whose weakened immune systems could make them vulnerable to Covid-19.
NHS Tayside said many patients require regular phlebotomy for disease and medication monitoring. Patients who require phlebotomy are often immunosuppressed meaning that bringing them to a hospital site could be dangerous during the current outbreak.
The service has now been relocated to Integrated Dental Service sites in Dundee Dental Hospital, Springfield Medical Centre in Arbroath and Broxden Dental Centre in Perth, with services being delivered from 9am until 3.30 pm, Monday to Friday.
Dental therapist, Hazel Duncan, said: “The dental community wanted to help during this difficult time, which is why we took up the opportunity to train in phlebotomy and help with the COVID-19 response in Tayside.
“This means that patients will still receive an excellent level of care, with the main change being where they go to receive their treatment.”
Clinical dental director, Dr Morag Curnow, said, “I am delighted at the contribution dentistry has been able to make to the wider NHS Tayside family.
“All branches of dentistry have stepped up to the challenge, with independent practices, the public dental service and the Dental Hospital all working together for the common good. I’m proud to be a member of the dental team here in Tayside.”
It was announced last month that all routine dental care would stop across Scotland and the public dental services would coordinate emergency dental care for all patients during the Covid-19 outbreak.
Within Tayside, urgent care centres have been opened at Kings Cross Health and Community Care Centre, Dundee Dental Hospital, Springfield Medical Centre and Broxden Dental Centre.
Those with a dental emergency have been advised to phone their usual dentist in the first instance or call 01382 425791 in hours or NHS 24 on 111 at evenings and weekends.
Patients are assessed by phone and offered an appointment at the appropriate centre.