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Dental service consultation doesn’t go far enough

August 31, 2004

School dental service consultation doesn’t go far enough

Consultation on improving our school dental services announced yesterday by the Ministry of Health is welcomed by the PSA but the consultation brief needs to be widened, PSA organiser John Shennan said today.

“Ageing dental equipment and the deterioration of on-site school clinics are important issues which must be addressed, but there are other just as critical issues to be considered such as low salaries, recruitment and retention of dental therapists, and unsatisfactory and dangerous working conditions”.

John Shennan said the PSA agreed with the findings contained in a report just released by the Dental Therapy Technical Advisory Group that many of the clinics were unsafe and dangerous.

“These unsatisfactory working conditions have an impact on recruitment and retention of dental therapists. The clinics are dilapidated, isolated, with only one way in and out, and do not allow our therapists to practise safely.

“The PSA would like to see consultation extended to cover issues such as the lack of dental therapy trainees, the large number of therapists approaching retirement age, the low salaries, and the profile of the profession which needs to be made more attractive for young people, Maori, and Pacific peoples.”

John Shennan said the PSA represents most of the 575 dental therapists currently working in the profession.

ENDS

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