The Cornwall Health for Homeless team, part of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is an integrated health improvement initiative utilising pop-up clinics in locations across the county. The pop-ups are multi-disciplinary and provide services ranging from health checks, vaccinations and help with drug and alcohol misuse to support for families in temporary accommodation, and dentistry.

At the first pop-up in Penzance in September 2021 our team provided oral health packs, oral health advice and fluoride varnish application to help protect teeth. The location was such that we could not provide any additional care but we took along a laptop and arranged for urgent care appointments in our Penzance practice the next day. All the patients turned up and a great deal of pain-relieving treatment was provided.

A number of our colleagues volunteered the following weekend too so we took our Smiles At Sea mobile unit to a location near St Petrocs Homeless Charity and provided dental care. Newquay was next and again hugely successful both with our team on site and also a dentist working in our nearby clinic who was able to provide same or next day urgent dental care.

Our teams thoroughly enjoy this joined-up working with other allied health professionals and not only have we supported pop-ups across the county but we’ve made our Harleigh Road Dental Centre in Bodmin available for Health for Homeless December pop-ups since 2021. The outcomes are fantastic – multiple rooms allowing for a host of healthcare provision including dental check-ups and urgent treatment with the Smile Together team. Each year our generous colleagues go even further, making up Christmas gift boxes for all those attending and contributing so much more to support for those most in need across the county.

The future is looking bright for this integrated, value-based healthcare project of which Smile Together is thrilled to be a part, making a genuine difference to vulnerable people. It perfectly complements our own oral health donations project and led to us being invited to work in partnership on various other initiatives across the county.  For example, with Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS England, offering soft tissue screening for patients attending their Covid vaccination clinic in Wadebridge during the pandemic.

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