Working in partnership and making a difference to vulnerable people
The Cornwall Health for Homeless team, part of Cornwall Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, is a 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, Covid 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 Lescudjack clinic the next day. All the patients turned up and a great deal of pain-relieving treatment was provided.
A number of our dental nurses and a dentist volunteered the following weekend too so we took the 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 offered use of our Harleigh Road Dental Centre in Bodmin for the December 2021 Health for Homeless pop-up. The outcome was fantastic – multiple rooms allowing for a host of healthcare provision including dental check-ups and urgent treatment with the Smile Together team who had generously collected warm clothing donations and made up around 40 Christmas gift boxes for those attending.
We subsequently supported a Health for Homeless pop-up in Camborne before Christmas 2021 where we donated the remaining clothing and Christmas gift boxes, and numerous other pop-ups across the county ever since!
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 with Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust and NHS England, offering soft tissue screening for patients attending their vaccination clinic in Wadebridge.