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Dental Clinics Decaying

Media Release
3 December 2003

Dental Clinics Decaying

New Zealand First is calling on the Health Ministry to give a high priority to the national review of school dental clinics in order to ensure that dental care is readily available for every child.

“The revelation that almost two-thirds of school dental clinics in the Wellington region are not up to scratch comes as no surprise and reflects the situation over the whole country,” said social services spokesperson, Barbara Stewart.

“School dental clinics have been allowed to decay in recent years. The buildings are often used by schools for other purposes and consequently do not meet the standards required for provision of a dental service.

“Adequate hygiene standards cannot be maintained when therapists are working with old Zip water boilers for hot water for cleaning and sterilising. Essential upgrading of lighting and painting is usually overdue.

“Maintenance on school dental clinics is often quietly ignored because of limited funds available to principals and boards of trustees. The mobile dental clinics used as an option in some areas are not ideal because of their restricted working conditions.

“For primary schools with over 100 pupils and intermediate schools a permanent dental clinic facility is essential to ensure that children receive adequate dental treatment,” said Mrs Stewart.

ENDS

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