The innovative work of a vital medical centre, providing health services to homeless people, could contribute to the blueprint of a national dentistry care model following a visit from NHS England.

For 30 years Luther Street Medical Centre has been helping homeless and vulnerably housed people  in the heart of Oxford.

It was set up to help the city’s homeless population falling through the cracks in the healthcare system and began life in a temporary hut in 1985. Now it has treatment rooms for physical and mental health assessments, podiatry care, dental services and others.

The Dental Clinic and Medical Practice Team were visited by NHS England’s Deputy Chief Dental Officer Janet Clarke and Senior Programme Lead for Dental, Community Pharmacy and Optical Carol Reece. They explored how the service could be replicated nationwide as they develop an oral health and dental national commissioning guide.

They joined Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust colleagues to pose with their smiley sticks in support of National Smile Month, a national campaign run by the Oral Health Foundation to promote good oral health.

Clinical Director for Oxford Health’s Oxfordshire Salaried Primary Care Dental Service Rosalind Mitchell said: “I’m very pleased NHS England wish to consider replicating this model across England.

“It was rewarding to hear positive feedback about the great partnership working at Luther Street and the holistic way the dental team and medical practice work to ensured excellent quality dental care for the homeless in Oxfordshire.”

Luther Street practice manager Stephen Moore said: “Knowing the dental service based here could contribute to the future design of services nationwide is rewarding and a testimony to the collaborative work by Trust staff over past years.”

NHS England’s Deputy Chief Dental Officer Janet Clarke said: “I think we both came away with a strong impression of how such services can be effectively delivered which will be very useful going forward. It was lovely to meet such a cohesive team.”

LutherSt Smile