Local MP Steve Brine has met with colleagues at a Winchester dental practice to discuss the realities of working in a busy clinic.
The MP, who is also the government minister responsible for dentistry, made the visit as he works on the government’s Green Paper on preventative healthcare, set to be published later this year.
Visiting Bupa Dental Care Winchester, Steve met with staff from across the practice including dentists, hygienists and the practice manager, Belinda LIoyd. He was also greeted by Bupa Dental Care General Manager, Gabriela Pueyo, and Nin Lasham, Area Manager for Bupa Dental Care in the South.
As one of the UK’s largest providers of NHS and private dentistry, Steve was keen to hear from Bupa colleagues on their day-to-day roles. He also took time to understand the current challenges they face, and where they saw opportunities to make improvements to benefit patients and staff alike.
During the visit Steve spoke openly about the need to improve preventative measures, including promoting children’s oral health. This included discussions on how to instil good oral health practices from a young age, including with expectant mothers.
The latest figures from the NHS show that over 45,000 under-18s were admitted to hospital in England for tooth extractions in 2017-18. However, the leading causes for dental diseases – such as diet and poor oral care – are entirely preventable.
Colleagues were also able to share with Steve some of the work they are doing to engage children at a local level, with dental nurses Victoria Jones and Harry Egerton discussing their regular visits to local schools and nurseries. During these sessions they teach children how to take care of their teeth, how different foods can impact their oral health, and how to limit sugar consumption.
Speaking of his visit, Steve Brine MP said: “I was delighted to visit Bupa Dental Care Winchester and spend time chatting to the team. It’s all about prevention for me, and it was great to see the work they are doing, in particular with schoolchildren and young people.”
Gabriela Pueyo, General Manager for Bupa Dental Care, commented: “It was a pleasure to meet with Steve and to hear his commitment to UK dentistry. He took the time to speak to all of the team and was keen to hear their suggestions for the upcoming green paper. It’s reassuring to see that colleagues on the front-line of dentistry will be helping to shape its future.”
Harry Egerton, dental nurse for Bupa Dental Care Winchester, added: “It’s great to see the Minister taking such an interest in our work and taking the time to meet with us. Our school engagement programme has proved so successful; the children come away with the knowledge that will help them keep their teeth healthy for years to come. It’s really rewarding on a personal level, and I’d love to see more practices taking part.”
In addition to the work carried out locally by the team in Winchester, Bupa Dental Care is also involved in the Smile4life campaign – an NHS initiative to improve access to dental health provision. A key part of Smile4life is the Starting Well scheme, which aims to encourage young children in areas with the poorest oral health to visit their local surgery more frequently.
The local MP for Winchester, Steve Brine is also the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health and Primary Care. UK dentistry is included in his remit, alongside other areas of primary care, prevention and early intervention. He’s also responsible for areas including health protection and improvement, sexual health, public health systems and major diseases.
Bupa Dental Care Winchester is set in Marlfield House, a grade two listed building in the city centre. With ten surgeries, 14 dentists, five hygienists and 17 support staff, the practice provides an extensive range of NHS and private dentistry.