In the Chair with Nasser Syed, Principal Dentist of Simply One Dental
We talk to Nasser Syed, course director of Manchester Sedation Course and principal dentist of SimplyOne Dental to find out how he’s getting through the COVID-19 lock-down.
Q. How is Simply One Dental preparing for patients to return to practice?
A. In both of our practices we have team members contacting patients, performing telephone emergency triage and carrying out important administrative/ clinical governance tasks so when it is safe to return we can and there won’t be any delay in opening our doors again for patients.
We will need to carefully manage the influx of patients when the doors do open, to ensure the safety of our team and the general public. Confidence will need to grow and we will need to work differently but with the same goal of maintaining our patient’s oral health.
Q. During lock-down, is it important for practices to keep in touch with their patients?
In my opinion, there has never been a more important time.
It’s always been mine, and the teams, priority to be there for our patients and to help them through this. I would see it as a personal failure if a Simply One Dental patient ended up in A&E with a dental issue.
It’s also not just about managing their dental needs. It’s about showing our patients that our care isn’t paused while so many other things are during lock-down. One of the team had the idea to call some of our vulnerable or elderly patients simply to check in and to ask them if they’re ok?
The response we’ve had from these calls has been overwhelming – there have been tears - it’s been so appreciated by our patients.
Q. What about your staff too – how can practices keep connected with their teams?
It’s challenging for patients and for everyone working in dentistry. But together we get through it.
We have regular zoom meetings, I’m regularly in practice and checking in with the team. It’s important that communication keeps going and everyone feels safe and taken care of.
Q. How are you spending this down time?
When I’m not in practice I’m kept busy with home schooling my 8 and 10-year-old boys.
I want to take a positive out of this situation and that’s the time it has afforded me to be with my family.
Since I graduated in 2006 I’ve never had any real time away from work other than for family holidays abroad. So, I made the decision to keep April for family.
I’m enjoying having this time with my sons and being so hands on with their education. I’m used to teaching adults on my IV sedation training course and I get a lot from seeing people develop, so to be able to have that experience with my boys has been incredibly rewarding.
Q. You’re the course director of an IACSD accredited and extremely popular IV sedation training course held at Mandec above the University of Manchester Dental Hospital. Due to social distancing that training must be postponed, but are you offering any remote training in the meantime? If so, what and how can dental professionals get involved?
Not yet. But watch this space.
Our website is currently being redeveloped – we thought now was a good time to get jobs like this done - and we’re meeting back up next month to talk about what training we could offer.
Those interested should check out www.mansedcourse.com for the latest announcements.
Q. Has enough been done to support the dental community through this challenging time – if no, what more should have been done?
I don’t feel let down as a dentist. But I do think more should be done for patients who need emergency care.
We’re doing our best at Simply One Dental. We have an emergency triage process in place, and when more attention is needed for the patient we have a dentist on rota to talk to them to offer more support. We’re also meeting next week as a team to discuss how we can implement online consultations.
But we know there are patients that need to be seen and they’ve been frustrated by the access to emergency care that has been put in place nationwide. Action and communication regarding these urgent dental care centres has been delayed.
When the lock-down began, I contacted our local area team offering me, my practices and my team’s services to become an urgent dental care centre. We wanted to help and we knew the AAA’s (advice, analgesics, antimicrobials) would not be effective for all patients. We’re perfectly placed as a practice to do this – our Droylsden branch is a large 8 surgery, state of the art dental practice in Tameside.
Q. What one piece of advice would you give a dental professional struggling to cope during this difficult time?
Simply One Dental are predominately NHS practices so unlike private practices we should have money coming in. I feel for private dentists, my brother Riaz Yar is one.
Despite no revenue coming in, my brother is taking this time to think outside the box when it comes to how he can help the dental community with educational webinars to focus on clinical mastery through ‘Geeking out in lockdown’ and Dentinal Tubules.
As dentists, we’ll never get this time again to be able to dedicate to self and practice improvement. So, my advice would be inspired by my brother – keep positive, keep moving forward so when this all ends you’re better for it.