Enterprising social-dental link-up begins

A new non-profit dental practice offering NHS care has opened in Grantham.

An investment package of £437,100 from Futurebuilders England supported the East Midlands Community Dental Association, which trades as Genesis Dental Care, to set up three new practices in Grantham, Lincoln and South Normanton.

The first surgery, which opened yesterday in Grantham on Social Enterprise Day, will offer NHS treatments and provide a much-needed service where there is limited access to NHS dentists.

All three practices are newly renovated to provide a comfortable patient experience and boast state-of-the-art digital equipment for high-quality patient care. The practice based in Lincoln is due to open in December and is supported by Lincoln Co-op.

Treating over 15,000 patients in their first year, the three practices will initially take patient referrals from local NHS waiting lists. In addition, a central registration service will allow patients to book appointments outside opening hours, as well as provide a text reminder service to reduce ‘did not attends’ and prompt follow-up appointments.

With support from the Department of Health, East Midlands Development Agency, Social Enterprise East Midlands and Futurebuilders, Genesis has been successful in bringing together the collective expertise of the dental and social enterprise sector to develop this innovative dental care model.

Steve Holmes, chairman of Genesis Dental Care, said: ‘With changes in the provision of dental care over the last nine months, we have developed a new model to deliver first-class and professional dental services in areas where there is acute need. As a social business we are committed to improving the health of our local communities and tackling dental health inequalities. All profits will be ploughed back into the organisation to develop services for the community. We’re keen to involve our patients in the membership of our organisation so it really is a truly patient-led service.’

Futurebuilders chief executive Richard Gutch said: ‘This is an exciting time for dental provision and Futurebuilders is proud to have played a part in bringing this venture to fruition. Our investment has provided working capital for Genesis to help set up the three practices until income streams begin. This partnership of health and social enterprise represents a new way of working for dental care and shows how third sector organisations can best use their skills to support the delivery of public services.’

John McIvor, chief executive of Lincolnshire PCT, said: ‘We are delighted to have agreed contracts with Genesis to provide NHS dentistry in Lincoln and Grantham. This will provide a welcome increase in NHS dentistry for people in these areas. This was part of the PCT’s procurement tender exercise to increase the number of NHS dentists in Lincolnshire. Across the county the PCT has agreed ten new contracts this year which has meant that over 20,000 more people have been offered a place with an NHS dentist recently.’

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