Chief dental officer for England, Barry Cockcroft, visited Knowsley, Merseyside to celebrate the borough’s newest NHS dental practice, a partnership between a dentist and former GP.
The government’s most senior dental advisor joined local dignitaries to attend the Origins Dental Surgery, at Whiston Primary Care Resource Centre to see first-hand how Knowsley Health & Wellbeing is providing dental access to around 7,000 residents.
Headed up by principal dentist, Dr Ravi Gollapudi, Origins Dental Surgery comprises two surgeries, the first at Whiston Primary Care Resource Centre which opened in February 2011, and the second based at Halewood Resource Centre which opened its doors in recent weeks.
As part of the £600,000 funding from the Department of Health’s Dental Access Programme, the practice will now offer three whole time equivalent dentists and extended opening times to help improve oral health in Knowsley.
The surgery, a partnership with Dr Gollapudi and a former Knowsley GP, Dr Sudhaker Khandavalli, has used local knowledge of the health issues within the borough to ensure that it has catered specifically to the needs of the community.
Choosing to have the practice within existing primary care resource centres has meant that residents have access to all healthcare services in the heart of the community.
Barry Cockcroft, chief dental officer for England, said: ‘As part of the government’s commitment to dentistry and improving oral health nationally and at community level, I am always interested to see how community initiatives are helping to improve access to dental care.
‘I’m delighted to see first-hand how Knowsley Health & Wellbeing has shaped its new surgery following the expertise of Origins Dental’s principal dentist and partnership with a local GP. Taking a tailored approach towards the needs of the local community will no doubt help grow access to dental services and I look forward to hearing how it is received by local residents.’
Sue Drew, Knowsley Director of Public Health said: ‘At Knowsley Health & Wellbeing, we are committed to improving the oral health of local residents. Increasing access to NHS dental services and the opening of our second surgery recently are just some of the steps that we are taking to prioritise this.
‘By increasing the number of dentists and extending practice times, residents have more and more choice when it comes to the services they can access. Plus, Origins Dental Surgery joins our 18 dental surgeries in the borough in providing the latest treatment, technology and services.’
Origins Dental Centre will provide a full range of high street dental services including the full range of NHS service as well as a range of private treatments. The practice will also provide frequent early morning and late evening appointments for patients in the borough.