CDS CIC is an award winning, employee owned social enterprise providing community dental services and oral health improvement across east and central England. The patients it supports typically cannot be treated by high street dentists and are some of the most vulnerable in society, including people with additional needs and mental health issues, rough sleepers and prison populations.
CDS has responded to the Covid-19 crisis by being part of the Urgent Dental Care Network of clinics set up to provide care for patients as a last resort where consultation by telephone or video is not a viable option.
Covid-19 has caused significant interruption to routine dental care because of the risk to patients and clinical teams through the use of aerosol generating procedures. Clinical teams have been supplied and fitted with PPE and arrangements made in clinics to allow patients to enter and exit safely. An easy read leaflet has been developed to support CDS patients with additional needs understand how dentists and dental nurses will look in PPE and what will happen in the clinic.
Since the crisis began, CDS has continued to support patients through telephone consultation and have been able to treat non urgent dental problems by advising on self-care, over the counter painkillers and issuing prescriptions where necessary.
A whole new IT infrastructure to enable dentists to effectively triage and treat patients remotely has had to be set up in a matter of days; establishing a secure video conferencing facility through a NHS Digital approved solution allowing a single channel between Dentist and patient. Where clinics do not have Wi-Fi, CDS 4G enabled iPads have been rolled out, working with Apple to provide a business solution enabling shared but secure access similar to classroom used iPad that had not previously been used in a business environment.
Toothbrush packs for rough sleepers
CDS CIC are also donating 2,325 tooth brushing packs through local authorities and charities supporting rough sleepers during the COVID – 19 crisis.
The packs are being purchased through a grant from CDS’s employee led charity CDS Action and will be distributed across Essex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Bedfordshire, Oxfordshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire by 20 local organisations supporting rough sleepers and will include toothbrushes, 100ml tube of fluoride toothpaste and a simple leaflet about maintaining good oral health.
Rough sleepers are especially vulnerable to poor health and this is likely to be exacerbated by the current crisis. There is also an increased risk of people becoming homeless. People rough sleeping are especially vulnerable to the worst effects of COVID-19 and efforts have been made to secure temporary accommodation for people who are homeless where they can self-isolate.
CDS has well established links with groups supporting rough sleepers, providing clinical care and oral health awareness programmes, and it is hoped that this project will strengthen existing ties and forge new partnerships.
Sue Jordan, CDS Assistant Director, Oral Health Improvement said: ‘Rough sleepers are amongst the most vulnerable in our communities and especially so now. We already work with many organisations who support rough sleepers and we are very happy to be able to support them and give some practical assistance to some very vulnerable people through our charity CDS Action. “This project started with a request from Inclusion Health Care CIC in Leicester for some sample size toothpaste and brushes for customers being sheltered during this crisis. CDS Action took it several steps forward to include Rough Sleeper services across its regions. It has been a particularly rewarding experience to hear that, what most people take for granted, is valued by those less fortunate”’