A Torrington dentist has joined an NHS England group at the sharp end of tackling the coronavirus crisis.

In February, Torrington Dental Practice partner Professor Ian Mills was invited to join an emergency NHS England working group to develop contingency plans for dentistry, pharmacy and optometry in case of a coronavirus (COVID-19) escalation.

The group meets weekly , with Prof Mills representing dentistry in his role as Dean of the Faculty of General Dental Practice (UK).

It provides regularly updated advice to dental practices on the steps they should take to help reduce the risk of the spread of infection, and on how they should manage any suspected cases of coronavirus among staff or patients.

Prof Mills said: 'Some patients have been contacting us with their concerns and I want to reassure them that Devon dental practices are receiving regular updates on the latest clinical guidance.

'If you are feeling unwell and/or have in the past 14 days returned from a Category 1 or Category 2 area, please do not visit your practice. Instead call 111 for medical advice and attention. Otherwise we look forward to seeing you as normal.

'While dental practices are in the habit of keeping scrupulously clean, we are asking all visitors to sanitise their hands on entering.

'In terms of general protection for the public, the very best thing you can do is to wash your hands regularly, and thoroughly.'

Patients are advised to contact their own dentist for specific updates relating to their local practice.

For answers to the most common questions about coronavirus, the public is advised to visit the NHS website at https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 .