Dewsbury folk finding it difficult to access dental care receive free treatment on Dentaid’s mobile dental unit
Over the next two weeks hundreds of people are expected to attend the Dentaid mobile unit visiting schools, community centres and public buildings in the West Yorkshire town of Dewsbury.
The project started yesterday (18th September) with 21 people receiving pain relieving dental treatment. The first patient, Phillip Rushforth (above) had five teeth extracted after suffering weeks of dental pain that was preventing him sleeping. He said he had been unable to register with an NHS dentist in the town. Another 16 people had teeth extracted and the team of volunteer dental professionals also saw four children, including one who had to be referred for multiple extractions under general anaesthetic.
The clinics are providing emergency pain relieving treatments including extractions and fillings along with oral health advice and teeth screening. Treatments are free and people just turn up and wait to be seen.
The project has been funded by Kirklees Council which awarded Dentaid a £7060 grant. It follows a pilot project in Dewsbury, launched in December 2015, which provided dental care for 150 people over seven months. Some of those patients had developed dental problems while they were on a dentist’s waiting list and others were vulnerable people who found it hard to access regular treatment.
More than a year after the pilot project finished there are still reports of two year waiting lists to register with an NHS dentist in Dewsbury. Local MP Paula Sherriff (above left, with councillor Rosheen Dad) who has raised concerns about access to dental care in her constituency in parliament, also visited yesterday’s clinic.
The volunteers on the mobile dental unit are led by dentist Nick O’ Donovan from Dewsbury Dental Centre. The project is also an opportunity for foundation dentists to gain experience of outreach clinics in community settings.
“The beauty of the mobile dental unit is that we can take a dental service right to the people who need it most,” said Dentaid CEO Andrew Evans. “We understand there are many reasons why people might not be able to access dental treatment and we want to help people out of immediate pain before offering them advice about accessing regular dental care.”
Cllr Cathy Scott, cabinet lead for public health at Kirklees Council said: “We know that not everyone is registered with a dentist and that some people find it difficult to pay for dental care. By supporting this project we can make sure that the most vulnerable people in our communities can access support to relieve pain and prevent future problems occurring.
“The mobile clinic will be in easy to reach, well known locations and I would encourage anyone who is concerned about their dental health and doesn’t have access to dental care at the moment to pop along and see one of these volunteer dentists.”
Dentaid purchased the mobile dental unit last year and it is used for regular outreach clinics at day centres and homeless shelters. Dentaid is currently fundraising so it can bring the mobile dental unit to other parts of the UK. To donate https://dentaid.org/donate/
The mobile dental unit will be open for treatment at the following venues and times.
September 20th and 21st: Mirfield Community Centre 2.30pm – 6.30pm
September 25th: Dewsbury Town Hall 3pm – 7pm
September 26th and 27th: Chickenley Community Centre 3pm – 7pm
September 28th: The Greenwood Centre 2.30pm – 6.30pm
September 29th: The Greenwood Centre 12noon – 4.30pm
October 2nd and 3rd: Thornhill Lees Community Centre 3pm – 7pm
Photo caption: (top) Nick O Donovan examines Kirklees Councillor Rosheen Dad