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Mobile dental clinics to roll out

8 April 2005

Mobile dental clinics to roll out

Eight new mobile dental clinics are proposed for development over the next three years to cater for school children throughout the Bay of Plenty.

The Bay of Plenty District Health Board recently approved a proposal for consultation with local schools to phase out many of the smaller school dental clinics within the region and replace them with mobile dental clinics.

The new dental clinics, which are earmarked as part of a $1.6 million draft plan to improve school-based dental services across the region, would replace more than 30 of the existing school dental clinics.

Under the preliminary review by the Pacific Health Community Dental Service, 12 school clinics throughout the region would be retained and upgraded due to their location and size.

The dental clinics signalled for closure require extensive upgrades and are not always open.

There are currently five mobile dental units operating within the region, and Bay of Plenty District Health Board Chief Executive, Ron Dunham, says the economics of mobile clinics is very good.

“Mobile clinics make much better use of resources such as staff and equipment. They also provide a multitude of benefits for staff and patients such as the ability for staff to work in groups, the fact that gear no longer requires packing and unpacking, improved access for children throughout the region, and modern equipment in a fresh facility, which assists in making dental clinic visits a more pleasant experience,” says Mr Dunham.

The Ministry of Health asked all health boards to review oral health facilities last year. Recommendations for the Bay of Plenty aimed to improve care and make better use of dental staff.

Consultation with local schools regarding the restructure of the dental service will be carried out within the next year. School dental clinics will not be closed unless there is a mobile dental clinic designated to replace the service.

ENDS

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