We caught up with the Dental School to find out more about the amazing work being carried out by students and staff during this time.


1. The dental hospital has been turned into an access centre and Dundee Dental School staff are working together with the Public Dental Service to provide emergency dental care as per new guidelines.

Kings Cross Hospital is now the designated hot site for treating COVID positive patients and Dundee Dental Hospital has become the designated cold site, treating non COVID patients for dental emergencies.

Waiting areas are closed within the hospital, patients have COVID screening questions to go through and their temperatures checked before being allowed into the hospital. Patients are asked to wait outside the main entrance whilst observing social distancing. Only when a surgery is free to receive them does the patient enter the building.


2. Dr Theaker and Dr McBay are running a new phlebotomy service in the surgical clinics.

A number of dentists and dental nurses are now taking bloods for both GP surgeries and hospital outpatient patients.


3. NHS teaching staff have been trained and redeployed to carry out roles to support the NHS across Tayside and within Ninewells Hospital.

These staff, who usually teach our undergraduate students, are working in hot sites providing dental care for known COVID patients. Others are completing training to enable them to monitor patients and some have taken on nursing roles within Ninewells Hospital.


4. A number of Dental students have volunteered to train to back-fill NHS roles, such as providing medical reception cover.

Students Scott Bowie and Jennifer Buchanan have been trained to help in local health centres.


5. Other dental students are providing essential services within their home towns to enable and support shielding of vulnerable groups.

Emma Copley one of our 1st year BDS students has been working for Morley Neighbourhood Team in Leeds where she has now trained as a Neighbourhood Team Officer. Her role helps to provide community nursing, palliative care and therapy services to support people in their own homes and in care homes. The team provides a range of care for all, from young to the elderly. We caught up with Emma to find out how she is finding this.

‘It’s been an eye opening few weeks where I have experienced working in the NHS and seen the extreme pressures it’s now under as a result of COVID-19. I’ve learnt a lot of new skills and had to apply these in a short space of time, which at times has been a challenge but I am really enjoying working in an integrated team with a wide range of clinicians such as nurses, health care assistants, physiotherapists and occupational therapists. Seeing and hearing how everyone in the NHS has come together makes me proud to do my bit and help out during this difficult time.’


6. Matthew Taylor is a 4th year BDS student, he is currently working at one of the COVID drive through testing centres. He told us more about what his role entails.

‘When I started it was a case of identifying the setup of the building to transform it into a clinic. We had to take an inventory of the equipment we had been given, as well as identify the equipment we may need in the future.

The centre works with 2 other testing centres on a referral basis, testing key workers who have symptoms of COVID. Each slot is approximately 12 minutes this means each day we don’t know how busy the next day will be.

The test itself involves an operator and assistant. We have volunteers directing the cars through a gazebo tent we have set up. The operator wears a full gown, mask, full visor and gloves. The assistant, standing more than 2 metres away wears gloves, mask and apron. Prior to checking ID and getting consent we need to write the patients details on all the pieces of lab work. The swab is of “nasal and throat” where the operator gets a sample from both tonsils and up each nostril. The swab is then placed in a preservative solution, in a cylindrical container before it is tested. Prior to being placed in the sample bag it is covered in two lab bags both of which are wiped with alcohol wipes. We get sample collections twice daily. Patients normally get results in two days.

Starting last week we have been referred to do domiciliary visits to care homes, for patients with symptoms, which we drive to using the ChildSmile vans. We have needed to plan and pack appropriate amounts of PPE. Scrubs are only allowed to be used once per session therefore at the end of each home we wrap it in a bag which dissolves in the wash. Prior to entering some of the care homes we have had our temperatures checked to ensure we are healthy, before swabbing. In care homes it is a lot more difficult as patients may be against having the test done and since we are only working on a trolley managing to organise swabs, PPE and patient details can be tricky.’

7. Eve, a first year BDS student has been busy helping during lambing and calving season on her family farm on the Moray Coast and shared this lovely picture with us in support of Clap for NHS.


8. All of the academic staff within the school are working hard to deliver online classes and ensure that finals examinations go ahead. They are also planning the return phase for teaching in autumn.

Here is what Hannah Milner one of our Dental students had to say about the online teaching provided by academic staff during this time.

“As a Dental student, much of my course is based on practical hands-on work but my tutors have been making every effort to make the transition as easy and effective for us as possible. They have provided materials to ensure there are no gaps in our knowledge after virtual tutorials. Rather than just sending us PowerPoint files or making us listen passively, they have built round-up sessions into tutorials and encouraged us to work through what was discussed in our own time.

“This meant I came away with questions to think about fresh in my mind and it has helped me understand the content better as well as enabling to guide my own learning. They have created a format that allows flexibility for students, which is crucial due to our varying circumstances in these uncertain times, such as illness, family commitments and time zone differences.”


9. The Dental school is launching a ‘COVID-19 Dental School Safety Campaign’.

The school will take on the challenge of riding 1000m miles on their bikes. The campaign was launched by Professor Peter Mossey, the idea came to him while he was cycling one day, with safety and training for students being at the forefront of his mind.

‘This will be primarily a fundraiser for ensuring a safe working environment for our staff and students as we expect some new challenges for teaching and patient treatment. These will include safe PPE, new infrastructure in clinics and waiting areas, more phantom heads and virtual scenarios for clinical skills.’

Here is the link to the fundraising page – https://www.facebook.com/donate/236689281116593/

10. Professor Janet Clarkson has led a group to conduct a rapid review of internationally produced guidance for re-opening dental services which has been praised by the World Health Organisation and the Scottish Government.

The review looks at how dentistry can prepare to move forward in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.