The idea for The Real Junk Tooth Project was sparked by the concept behind The Real Junk Food Project that uses food intercepted from many locations including cafes and supermarkets that are obliged to discard perfectly edible food due to various regulations. This food is normally wasted but The Real Junk food project works with the food retailers and intercepts the food and feeds it particularly to those in need in the local community. In Dewsbury the project is supported by businesses such as Morrisons, Co-op and Nandos.
Paul Burr, organiser of the Dewsbury project, noticed that the Real Junk Food customers often had many other problems including difficulty due to various barriers in accessing routine NHS dental care.
“Watching a hungry person struggle to eat because they are in pain with a long term dental problem was something that switched me on to this particular issue. Because of the work we do in the local community we were able to connect up the various people and with some innovative thinking by local dentists. We are really excited about making this new project happen.”
“There are already over 140 Real Junk Food cafes operating across the UK and they are all likely to have customers with similar problems. So the potential that the volunteers already supporting the cafes can talk to their local dentists and quickly generate a community response in other locations could help this service model to spread very quickly.”
Dentists in Dewsbury concerned for the welfare of vulnerable people are volunteering their time to help members of their local community who have difficulty accessing dentistry.
This is especially valuable in the run up to Christmas and takes some pressure away from NHS services. Healthwatch Kirklees have identified Dewsbury as being an area with particular dental access problems.
This innovative idea originated with Dewsbury dentists who were aware of the work to The Real Junk Food Project in the area. The idea is being piloted in one practice in Dewsbury starting 3rd Dec 2015 for several hours on Thursday evenings. There are 2 surgeries at the practice which will be used and it will be a turn up on the night between 6 and 7pm no appointment system.
Staffed by volunteer dentists and surgery staff, it will provide extractions and pain relief only; it will not provide normal NHS dental services. The pilot which is supported by the dental charity, Dentaid, will operate from Dewsbury Dental Centre, 15, Halifax Rd, Dewsbury.
The Dewsbury project is really a step into the unknown as a working pilot model that will enable us to determine if this model intended solely to improve the quality of life by providing pain relief can work effectively.
We are keeping it very simple. There is no appointment system but we will be monitoring uptake of these service in order to measure the demand.
We have taken the ‘pay as you feel‘ concept from The Real Junk Food Project so that even those with no or very limited income need pay nothing yet still escape the debilitating effect of dental pain.
We would like those who can do so to contribute a minimum of £10 to cover disposable items and anaesthetic.
We are hoping that people with an income but simply unable to gain normal access to dental services will pay a normal fee to contribute to this project to help members who are struggling in their own community.