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What are you doing about rotting teeth, Minister?

What are you doing about rotting teeth, Minister?

Heather Roy Wednesday, 3 August 2005 Press Releases - Health

ACT Health spokesman Heather Roy today demanded answers from Health Minister Annette King over the shortage of paediatric dentists at the country's hospitals.

"I have been informed by staff from the Otago Dental School that there are only nine paediatric dentists in New Zealand, yet they recommend there should be at least one at every District Health Board.

"There are only two paediatric dentists in Auckland and none in Wellington.

"Children throughout the country are in terrible agony because they can't get the urgent treatment they need for their rotting teeth.

"What is Annette King going to do about it?

"As Opposition Health spokesman in 1999, Annette King said one of the goals of the next Labour Government was to improve the dental health status of New Zealanders, 'especially children and adolescents'," Mrs Roy said.

"She went on to say: 'The shrinking number of dental therapists are continuing to do a wonderful job, but they are not receiving the support they require. The National Government has failed to make the necessary investment in dental health. We are now seeing the results of mouths full of rotting teeth.'

"Yet, six years with Annette King as Health Minister has resulted in huge numbers of children with rotting teeth and a shortage of paediatric dentists.

"Having been a dental nurse, Annette King should know how much discomfort these children are in and how important it is to plug the paediatric dentist shortage.

"If the DHBs were encouraged to contract with private providers, we would quickly find that access to quality and timely treatment would be available," Mrs Roy said.


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