MP welcomes launch of new mobile NHS dental service

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Havant MP Alan Mak has welcomed the launch of a new mobile dental service to provide NHS care for people in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight at risk of social exclusion.

The service is being funded by the NHS and delivered by charity partner Dentaid. It will initially operate for 18 months, visiting community centres, public buildings and sports facilities to reach the more vulnerable members of our communities.

The first appointment-only clinics for those who don't already have a dentist (either private or NHS) and who meet all the other eligibility criteria are taking place in Havant, plus Portsmouth, Cosham and Southampton, followed by the Isle of Wight in March and other areas of Hampshire later in the year.

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The service is aimed at people who experience financial, physical, practical and emotional barriers to accessing dental treatment.

Dentist Mary Green treats a patient in the mobile clinic.Dentist Mary Green treats a patient in the mobile clinic.
Dentist Mary Green treats a patient in the mobile clinic.

They can include families experiencing poverty, people at risk of homelessness and social exclusion, children in areas of deprivation, new and expectant mothers in areas of social deprivation, looked after children, refugees and asylum seekers, plus people who access food banks and support services provided by charity partners.

Patients are referred by GP practices, support services, partner charities, food banks, community projects and 111 (from March).

They are invited to make appointments to see the dentist on board, who will provide check-ups and oral cancer screening, oral health advice and emergency care including extractions and fillings. All treatment will be free of charge.

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Appointments will also be available for emergency cases where people are suffering acute pain, face health inequalities and have no other access to dental care.

The mobile dental clinic.The mobile dental clinic.
The mobile dental clinic.

Mr Mak said: "I welcome this new NHS mobile dentistry service in Havant which will help ensure that people not registered with a dentist can still get referred and have access to treatment."

Dentaid also delivers outreach dental projects for people experiencing homelessness, survivors of abuse, people on harm reduction programmes, fishing communities and former service personnel.

These charitable clinics will continue across the UK and run in addition to the partnership with NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight.

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News of the new mobile dental service comes after the Government announced its £200m NHS Dental Recovery Plan, which includes measures such as ‘new patient’ payments for NHS dentists to treat adults and children who have not seen a dentist in over two years and incentivising NHS dentists to work in underserved areas.