The £3.2 m reconfiguration, funded by Community Health Partnerships, will provide a modern and fit-for-purpose training ground for dental students from the university, while giving residents in north-east London quicker and easier access to free dental care within a primary care setting. The new clinic will provide capacity for 20 chairs, accommodating 300 dental students overseen by trained dentists, with the ability to deliver 7,000 patient appointments annually. The project partners say it will improve access to dental services for local communities in Homerton – an area known for high prevalence of dental decay and reduced access compared with national averages across England.
The project was made possible through collaboration between Barts Health NHS Trust, Queen Mary University of London, and Community Health Partnerships, supported by CHP LIFTCo partner, Infracare East London and Coleman Consult, which played a pivotal role in the delivery of the project.
Zahra Shehabi, Project lead/ Clinical Sustainability Fellow at Barts Health NHS Trust, added:
“We’ve embedded sustainable and modern design throughout the development of this clinic, and will also be utilising infrastructure and trying to source sustainable materials to ensure that the facility is as green as possible.”
Christopher Tredwin, Dean and Director of the Institute of Dentistry, Queen Mary University of London, said: “This new clinic will provide care to patients that need it the most, while training to the next generation of the UK’s dentists. Thanks to the hi-tech equipment and opportunity for students to treat patients, this clinic will ensure that undergraduates have the best opportunities to meet their clinical requirements while providing dental care to the community.”
Rishi Bhandari, Consultant Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon, and Clinical Director for Dentistry at Barts Health NHS Trust said: “The opening of Kenworthy Road will not only be a legacy for the patients who now have access to oral healthcare, and the undergraduates who get to train in a state-of-the-art faciality, but also an example of the talents and energy of the NHS team who made this vision come true.”
The variation at Kenworthy Road Health Centre was made possible through initial scoping and collaboration with North East London ICB and local Trusts by identifying the areas of significant health needs and high backlog, some caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Kenworthy Road Health Centre was identified as Homerton is an area with high dental needs. The health centre itself is centrally positioned, with strong transport links, making it accessible for patients. There are also existing primary care services being delivered from the health centre which would provide a sustainable opportunity for ‘joined-up working’.
CHP added: “With constraints on capital funding, optimising the use of high-quality estate is essential to support key priorities such as recovery of elective and primary care, and delivery of place-based care. Across the CHP portfolio, there are a number of dental variation opportunities, some with the ability to convert to dental services at pace. The variation at Kenworthy Road is a prime example of what can be achieved through collaboration with the local NHS system.”
Additional funding of staff and tutor posts have been made by Health Education England.