Are school children worse off under new school dental system?
Hundreds of school dental clinics around the country have been closed, and replaced by what the Ministry of Health calls a hub and spoke system. While children still get their teeth checked at mobile dental clinics which come to schools, if they require follow up treatment they now need to be taken by a parent to a hub clinic during working hours. But the rate of non attendance of these appointments is around 17 percent. Janice Gemmel is the Secretary & Organiser of the National Union of Public Employees, which represents dental staff in Christchurch. Deborah Woodley is the Ministry of Health's Group Manager of Sector Capability and Implementation. Robin Whyman was the Ministry's Dental Officer of Health when the new model was designed. He is now the Clinical Director of Oral Health Services at Hawkes Bay DHB.