Homeless people in Kent to receive dental care as rough sleeper scheme expands

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Hundreds more homeless people in Kent are set to benefit from dental care and podiatry services after funding for the county’s Rough Sleeper service was increased.

The Rough Sleeper service, which has already provided over 1,734 treatments in west Kent, has been awarded a cash injection worth £323,000 from NHS Charities Together’s Community Partnership Programme. The money will be managed by Kent Community Health NHS Foundation Trust (KCHFT).

The additional funding will be used to roll out the scheme in east Kent and Medway. Additional dental and podiatry services will be available alongside physical and mental health clinics, which are already up and running.

Claire Knight, a complex care outreach nurse based at KCHFT, ran the project in west Kent and will be involved in rolling the services out in Medway and east Kent. She described the programme as ‘invaluable’ and said that it serves a critical role in providing access to basic health services and boosting self-esteem and self-worth.

Ms Knight said that many homeless people who have now benefited from services provided by the Rough Sleeper initiative have been unable to access the care they need in the past due to not having a fixed address or anxiety related to stigma and discrimination. The programme not only facilitates access to essential healthcare but also ensures that every individual feels respected and valued.

Nursing and podiatry clinics will be run by KCHFT while Dentaid will be providing dental services through its mobile dental vans. Clinics will take place in Maidstone, Folkestone, Dover, Tonbridge, Tunbridge Wells, Medway and Canterbury.

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