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Fill Dental Assistant Cavity With 30% Catch-Up

Fill Dental Assistant Cavity With 30% Catch-Up

“The Government needs a comprehensive strategy to maintain the supply of school dental therapists and assistants - given the high demand for dental assistants in the now open market,” said Martin Cooney, Organiser with the National Union of Public Employees (NUPE) today. He was commenting on the Government’s decision to place Dental Assistants on the Immigration Services Immediate Skills Shortage List.

“Under changes made last year school dental therapists are now in an open market with dental assistants for dentists,” said Martin Cooney. “The Government will need to act quickly to ensure the school dental service retains the highly skilled and experienced staff currently employed.”

“Bringing in overseas dental assistants will work only if pay rates are sufficiently competitive to attract them. But that will also tend to attract school dental therapists away from low paid school jobs.”

“NUPE is now in negotiations for a new Collective Agreement with CDHB,” said Martin Cooney. “Dental Assistants only earn $23,231 pa normal maximum at present while Dental Therapists normal maximum is $33,886 pa. NUPE has claimed a 30% catch-up in rates for them.”

“The shortage of school dental therapists is worsened by an ageing workforce and not enough training. Government plans, given the supply crisis, appear to be to remove dental clinics from schools and have a few central clinics. Just how youngsters will get to the clinics is not clear but there is a real fear of deterioration of quality. The Government needs to stop the rot and pay an increase of 30% along with planning for proper supply.”

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