Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard, learned about pressing dental health issues and how a social enterprise is helping to tackle them as part of a visit to Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) Devonport Dental Education Facility in October.

Luke met with the PDSE Directors and Chief Operating Officer to learn of the innovative steps that the social enterprise is taking, including a new dental service for people experiencing homelessness in Devonport. He also discussed the dental landscape in the city, how PDSE can work with key partners to address and tackle these issues, and improve the dental health of children in Plymouth as part of the city’s Child Poverty Action Plan.

The Devonport Dental Education Facility is one of four run by PDSE, and is home to state of the art facilities to train University of Plymouth dental students. Students are trained to the highest standards by some of the best-qualified dental professionals in the region while providing free treatment to NHS patients.

During his visit Luke was also introduced to the team at Well Connected, PDSE’s partner health engagement charity to discuss some of the projects being co-delivered between the two across Plymouth – including ‘Open Wide and Step Inside’ a schools-based initiative which is aimed at five to seven year olds to help them to develop good oral health hygiene. The project is a finalist in this year’s Children and Young People Now Awards in the Early Intervention category, and the ceremony is in November.

Robert Witton, Director of PDSE, said: PDSE was delighted to welcome Luke Pollard MP to our Devonport Dental Education Facility to see the work that we undertake in partnership with the University of Plymouth Dental School and Well Connected Charity.

“We were able to talk to Luke about our innovative dental curriculum, the significant contribution we make towards NHS dental treatment in the city and our community outreach work delivering projects such as “Open Wide and Step Inside” to improve children’s oral health in local schools.”

PDSE has four Dental Education Facilities – two in Plymouth (Devonport and Derriford), in Exeter and in Truro.

In March this year the Care Quality Commission (CQC) report for Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) CIC’s Devonport Dental Educational Facility was released following an inspection in January.

Key findings of the report included the positive view of the facility provided by the patients on the day of the inspection; and notable practice of an active community engagement team including the ‘dental ambassador programme’ initiative for adults with learning disabilities which the Oral Health Foundation has recognised as an example of good practice.

Robert concluded: “The CQC report was a glowing endorsement of our service and the hard work of all the team. It is unusual for a report to contain notable practice so we are be very proud of this.”

Luke tweeted after his visit to his 15,000 Twitter followers: “It’s a really exciting project. Keen to support you in doing more with it. Brilliant seeing local innovation that can really help folk.”