Introduction: Dental staff are considered to be at increased risk of COVID-19 transmission, and national concerns about personal protective equipment (PPE) and staff safety have been widely reported. This study explores the views of staff working in Urgent Dental Care Centres (UDCCs) during the first COVID-19 lockdown.
Aims: To explore clinical staff views and experiences of PPE and personal safety while working in NHS Tayside's UDCCs during the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Design: Cross-sectional questionnaire survey.
Materials and methods: A questionnaire was emailed to staff working within NHS Tayside UDCCs during the first lockdown. The questions related to PPE, working environment, personal safety and wellbeing. This paper focuses on PPE and personal safety.
Results: Of the 176 invited to participate, 116 completed the questionnaire. The majority confirmed that they always had access to appropriate PPE and few had concerns about personal safety.
Discussion: Despite having worked in a high-risk environment throughout the lockdown, staff supporting the Tayside UDCCs felt safe and well-protected. This runs counter to widely reported anxieties about PPE and safety across the UK. Further investigation is required to understand this disparity.
Conclusion: The results indicate that PPE was adequate, accessible and staff felt protected.