Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise finalist in NHS Parliamentary Awards

Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise (PDSE) has been named the South West Regional Winner in The Health Equalities Award category of the NHS Parliamentary Awards 2020. It has been recognised for its successful Community Clinic, which supports vulnerable patients who are experiencing homelessness in Plymouth.

For successfully winning the regional category, PDSE are now shortlisted for the national award which will be announced at a ceremony at the Palace of Westminster in July 2021.

The award, which can only be nominated through a Member of Parliament, recognises the work that the clinic, run by a small team of professionals from Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise and local agencies and associations, is providing a number of patients who are currently experiencing homelessness within the city with urgent and routine dental care.

Luke Pollard MP who nominated PDSE for the award said:

“I’m delighted that Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise’s good work is being recognised on a national stage. We have a real national success story in Plymouth and I want us to tell the whole country that Plymouth not only has one of the best dental schools in the land but that it lives its values on access, innovation and equality.”

Robert Witton, CEO of PDSE and Director of Social Engagement and Community-based Dentistry in the University of Plymouth’s Peninsula Dental School says:

“On behalf of PDSE I would like to thank Luke Pollard MP for nominating us for this award. We are absolutely committed to addressing oral health inequalities in local communities and helping those who need it most through the Community Clinic. I am grateful to all of our partners for making this initiative so successful.”

The Community Clinic began in January 2018 initially by treating people experiencing homelessness, expanding within the last year to include individuals using drug and alcohol services, as well as vulnerable women who are at risk of having multiple children removed from their care.

As a committed social enterprise PDSE currently provides this service as a pro bono contribution to the local community as part of its mission to ensure access to dental care for groups who may feel excluded from mainstream dentistry.

Mr Witton adds:

“Our ambition is to receive NHS Funding so we can expand our model across Devon and Cornwall to help more people.”

Professor Christopher Tredwin, Head of Peninsula Dental School at the University of Plymouth, said:

“PDSE is an incredible organisation and we’re proud of everything it does – particularly in relation to its work to bring oral health care and education to people who might not otherwise be able to access it. Our students work with the PDSE dentists as part of their clinical practice and I know they feel inspired by their dedication. This award is a hallmark of PDSE’s success, and we look forward to seeing the team celebrated nationally later next year.”

Luke Pollard MP adds:

The Peninsula Dental School is an institution we should be hugely proud of and I hope more people get to learn about their incredible work because of this award. Thank you to them for their work in expanding dental access especially for those who struggle to find a dentist the most.”

Peninsula Dental Social Enterprise is committed to improving dental health in the South West through treatment, education, community and training. Created by the University of Plymouth in 2013, PDSE runs the University’s four Dental Education Facilities throughout Devon and Cornwall and is a NHS training clinic for its dental profession students, including dentists, dental nurses and hygiene therapists, and postgraduate students on specialist courses such as restorative dentistry. The social enterprise is recognised in the 2020 NatWest SE100 Social Business Top 100 Index.

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