In February of this year we highlighted a pilot initiative with Bevan Healthcare in Bradford.
This outstanding Medical practice in the heart of the city serving many of the communities on the margins of society & culture. Those communities including;
- Those with addictions
- Those with Mental Health issues
Bevan recognised that due to their lifestyles many clients were suffering with chronic dental pain and not able to access simple pain relief or oral health advice.
As an initial step to address this, in partnership with the Yorkshire Deanery Foundation Dentists, cohort regular clinics were set up to offer triage, referral and oral health promotion to many of Bevan's clients. Oral health promotion also included the appropriate application of fluoride varnish, use of toothpaste & toothbrushes and oral health education.
The feedback from Bevan and its clients has been incredibly positive and extremely encouraging in how this project can be taken to another level. Clients in pain have been triaged and referred to the appropriate dental specialty to either provide restorative or surgical care. A good news story but it doesn't end there.
One of the outcomes was to allow the volunteer foundation dentists to explore and be inspired by not only serving this community outreach but also to understand the multi professional way of working. Within Bevan House the young Dentists were not only working with in house GPs and nurses but also those involved in the street medicine, housing and allied healthcare teams. This way of working will give them an insight as to the probable future strategies in UK healthcare.
However, within the feedback from these young volunteers it was observed that a 'deeper' work has also been going on!
"I really enjoyed serving the community. It was a privilege to be involved and to see the difference our intervention made"
The UK dental profession is a privileged place to work and forge a career that can bring many rewards.
Even if the demands to deliver increase and the pressures can bring their own negative outcomes, it is important that we 'pause to reflect' for those who do not have such opportunities for reward and provision.
I have been encouraged and inspired by the insight, awareness and heart of this future generation of dental professionals.
They have volunteered for a project but have been changed by the people they have served.
As we review and evaluate the program, my hope alongside colleagues from Bevan and Yorkshire deanery is that we can continue to serve the marginalised communities of Bradford & Leeds but also we can empower the future generations of the dental profession.
Posted by Gemma