Dental pilot improves access for homeless South Yorkshire residents

26 March 2024

An initiative to improve access to dental services for people experiencing homelessness is being piloted in Doncaster, based on a successful pilot in West Yorkshire. 

The pilot, launched in late 2023, aims to deliver responsive dental services and reduce inequalities of access to dental care for people experiencing homelessness and socially marginalised groups.

Working in partnership with local homeless charities and organisations, the NHS South Yorkshire-funded service supports people experiencing homelessness to make appointments and to be accompanied to dedicated treatment sessions. 

David Crichton, Doncaster GP and chief medical officer at NHS South Yorkshire said, “People experiencing homelessness face significant health inequalities and poorer health outcomes than the rest of the population.

“Our Doncaster dental pilot is providing a targeted approach to ensuring that people experiencing homelessness have access to the same standard of dental care as the general population.”

Darren Jones, one of the pilot service’s first patients, said accessing dental services and improving his oral health is having a big impact on his life and his outlook for the future.

David added, “We are delighted to hear Darren’s success story about the life-changing effects the pilot has had on restoring his dignity, his confidence and being able to smile and eat without pain or shame.”

Sue Tompkinson, practice manager at Rodericks Dental Partners, said, “We’ve adapted a successful model previously piloted in Leeds, and we’re seeing great results now here in Doncaster. For our most vulnerable residents, it’s all about improving access, improving their oral health and what that then leads to for them.”

Andrea O’Friel, service manager at Social Housing Charity Riverside, said, “It’s always been a big sticking point, trying to access dentists for our customers. The pilot has made a big difference for us and is helping our vulnerable customers to get the dental treatment they need.”

Listen to Darren’s story here.