Harleigh Road, Bodmin – our brand new purpose-built community dental centre for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly
When we launched in 2016 as an employee-owned dental social enterprise and community interest company, one of the things our team felt passionately about was enhancing our clinical environments and treatment options for patients – to improve our community dental services, to exceed patient expectations and enable everyone to deliver above and beyond what we’re commissioned and contracted to do. Underpinning our mission of delivering ‘dentistry with social impact’.
We therefore purchased the wonderful former grammar school on Harleigh Road in Bodmin, with a view to transforming it into a brand new, purpose-built community dental centre and set about securing agreement to proceed with our plans.
We commissioned PFA Research, a reputable independent market research company based in Cornwall, to consult with our emergency and special care patient groups:
- Their emergency care on-line survey, conducted over a six-week period in 2017, generated nearly 1,100 responses – the key issue identified was the length of travel time to reach an appointment but 63% of patients surveyed were comfortable with travelling 30-60 minutes or more, thus supporting our proposed new location
- Their special care telephone survey targeted 274 individuals representing 448 patients (the number of retained special care patients in North East Cornwall) and reached 96 people. 98% of those respondents encountered at least one type of challenge when going to the dentist – most commonly relating to toilet and parking facilities, reception and waiting areas, lack of recovery or quiet space and additional treatment options on site. Their lowest priority issue was travel time, and overall 60% of patients and carers felt that a new dental facility would address their needs
So not only were our patients supportive of our plans, but NHS England backed us to the hilt, granting formal approval to proceed in September 2018.
Our shared vision for the building is to enhance dental services and quality of provision, delivering an outstanding patient experience. From a dedicated reception with easy, accessible parking through to treatment in the most suitable environment for our patient groups, Harleigh Road has been specifically designed to include the only bariatric chair in Cornwall; wheel chair access and facilities; consulting, recovery and treatment rooms; and a ‘Changing Places’ toilet for our patients. Everyone has agreed the importance of maintaining the beautiful aesthetics of the building and adding strong nods to its history.
Brady Construction, a Cornwall-based family building firm, was commissioned and began work on the Harleigh Road site in September 2018 – as part of their contract they also committed to become a significant supporter of Brighter Smiles, our oral health campaign. Together we are aiming for project completion at Harleigh Road in Spring 2019.
Ultimately Harleigh Road will be a development for us all to be proud of – it certainly underpins our vision of creating happier healthier communities.