GETTING access to an NHS dentist is one of the biggest gripes about the health service.
But over recent years health officials have done all they can to improve dental accessibility.
And now their efforts have gone one step further in our area with the launch of a state-of-the-art mobile dental unit.
The new £150,000 vehicle – which is a fully-equipped dental surgery on wheels – is aimed at helping people who cannot easily access dental surgeries.
Havant Mayor Councillor Ken Smith officially opened the unit outside Waterlooville Health Centre yesterday.
He said: ‘Anything which increases dental access to the general public has got to be a good thing.
‘It’s wonderful we now have this unit. It will be a great benefit to the community.’
The specially-adapted unit, which will be run by Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust, will be based at Waterlooville Health Centre most of the time but will travel elsewhere in Hampshire, to schools, nursing homes, homeless shelters and other health centres.
The unit is aimed at catering for people who are wheelchair bound, disabled, have learning difficulties, mental health problems, people in nursing homes and those in homeless shelters.
The unit has everything a normal dental practice would have, with added features such as a platform lift and wheelchair recliner to enable disabled access.
The unit also enables patients to remain in the safety and comfort of their own wheelchair at all times throughout the treatment.
Natalie Jones, lead commissioning manager primary care dental services at NHS Hampshire, said: ‘The unit is fantastic addition to the dental services we provide already, such as the home-treatment.
‘It’s great that we can now provide dental access to those who cannot get to a high street practice.’
For more information about the mobile dental clinic, and to register to get treatment, call 01329 827145, or email on firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also be referred through your GP or health visitor.