This is it. The dentists are going back.
We’ve had no useful information for two months about how and when we can get back to work and then chaos descended last week as we heard the news saying we are going back to work (very few dentists will have actually read the email before the media got hold of it, nor will they have read the backdated email that landed a couple of hours earlier).
Since my last blog one week ago, we’ve been told we can go back to work on the 8th of June and been issued with literally hundreds of pages of guidance from so many different sources on how to do so safely (not that any of them are based on much more than guesswork).
The length of the documents, the terminology and the abundance of TLA’s (three letter acronyms) in all of them make them extremely difficult reading. There are some useful instructions amongst the pages but you have to dig deep to find them.
“any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a packet of toothpicks, was no longer a civilization in which I could live and stay sane.”
We are not talking about a packet of toothpicks here, but the sheer volume of information is pushing a lot of people to their limits.
Every dentist up and down the country is now working their way through these “guidance” documents to see how we start to get back to helping our patients properly again.
No sooner will we have read through this guidance than the next updated version will be released and the process restarts.
Then if the government changes our alert level, it all changes again. An extremely crude and oversimplified tool that seems to apply one single rule for the whole country which is at many different stages in this pandemic, in a hope that this will assuage our fears and propagate compliance.
“A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools”
We have to be extremely careful in the coming weeks, to follow the advice from the most reputable source based on the best available evidence.
We must not dive headfirst into making wholesale changes the instant that anyone issues one piece of guidance that fits in with our ideal of how we think things should be.
This is of course no different to how life was before. We find it all to easy to go along with the concepts we agree with and naturally shy away from anything that could disrupt our status quo.
We surround ourselves we people who think and act like we do, and then are amazed that half the country voted the opposite way to literally everyone we think we know.
Not everything can be evidence based, certainly not in a time of such rapid change. We must strive to adhere what we feel is best and safest for our patients and our colleagues.
The stress of the unknown is starting to dissipate.
The stress of being out of control and unable to help is lifting.
New stresses are coming in as the old ones fade.
It is not time to panic.
It’s time to think carefully about safely getting back to work and one step at a time. As our understanding changes, we will need to change with it. There is no single way to fix all of this.
“It is a mistake to think you can solve any major problems just with potatoes.”
The answer is, an case you hadn’t realised, is 42.