Community dental service launches new initiative to improve access in Widnes and Runcorn
A community dental service has launched a new NHS initiative to improve access to local dental services in Runcorn and Widnes.
Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust already works with patients who struggle to access services as a result of disability and special needs, and it is now working to assist patients facing other barriers.
David Mills, a specialist in clinical care dentistry and lead clinician at the trust, said that there are several reasons why people may find it difficult to get the dental care they need, and the aim of the new initiative is to reach out to vulnerable, marginalised groups. Statistics from the NHS Health and Social Care Information Centre show that around 40% of adults don’t go to the dentist on a regular basis, and the trust is keen to support those who find it hard to access dental care. Groups that are being targeted as part of the scheme include travelling communities, people who don’t have English as their first language, those who have suffered abuse or been through trafficking and asylum seekers.
A group of workers from Bridgewater’s will now work with vulnerable groups to provide information about dental services in the community, to build trust between health and dental providers and marginalised groups, and to facilitate the provision of treatment. Some people may not be visiting a dentist simply because they don’t know that dental care is widely available and subsidised by the NHS, while others may be anxious about even approaching a practice as a result of negative experiences in their past, mental health issues or anxiety related to not speaking or understanding English.