Leeds charity teams up with local NHS dentists to deliver treatment for homeless people

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A charity based in Leeds has teamed up with local NHS dentists to deliver free treatment for homeless people.

Homeless Street Angels is working with two local dental practices to provide free dental care for homeless people. Co-founder, Becky Joyce, who launched the charity with her sister, said that dental care is often the final puzzle piece after the team has helped with finding housing, accessing support for health problems, including alcohol and drug abuse, and providing basic supplies such as toiletries and food.

Many people who are homeless struggle to access dental services because they don’t have a fixed address, they can’t afford to pay for treatment and it can be difficult to get to surgeries and clinics. In the midst of a deepening access crisis across the UK, charities like Homeless Street Angels provide increasingly valuable services.

The charity has joined forces with two dental practices to deliver free care for patients once a week using funding from NHS England. Dentist Munaf Qayyum, from High Ash Dental Surgery in Alwoodley, treats up to five patients every Wednesday, taking referrals from Homeless Street Angels and St George’s Crypt, another local homeless charity.

In most cases, the initial appointment will involve Dr Qayyum providing services like tooth extraction and fillings. Many patients then return later to undergo further treatment to have dentures or bridges fitted.

Ms Joyce said that it’s common for people to come to the charity with very few healthy natural teeth or even no teeth at all. Thanks to the scheme, they can access the treatment they need, often emerging weeks later with amazing smiles, which not only enhance their oral and general health but also boost their confidence.

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