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Dental Health Facts in Short Supply

Media Release

25 May 2006

Dental Health Facts in Short Supply

The good news budget announcement of funding to upgrade child dental services has not been followed by any details of how exactly the Government plans to achieve the long awaited improvements, says New Zealand First’s health spokesperson Barbara Stewart.

“Much has been made of the $40.8 million earmarked in the Budget to improve the state of the school dental service and, flowing on from that, the dental health of our under 18’s.

“However there is very little information available about the proposed distribution or use of the funds,” said Mrs Stewart.

“If it is split evenly between the 21 district health boards they will receive less than $2 million each. Given the run-down state of the entire dental health service it will need nothing short of a miracle for any of the DHBs to make much impact on their problems with that amount.

“It would be comforting to think that the Ministry of Health has a master plan but so far the only information forthcoming from the Minister is that a national steering group has now been set up to “… monitor implementation of the vision to improve the nationwide oral health system for children and adolescents.”

After that “… It will also provide advice on the framework and timeframes for implementation of priorities for action to advance the proposed new direction and monitor progress with recommendations for implementation.”

“A clear statement outlining what is planned and when it will start would be more useful than bureaucratic weasel words,” said Mrs Stewart.


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