August 27, 2008

Spotswood to Be Site of Taranaki’s New Dental Clinic



Taranaki Community Oral Health Service $3m roll-out

* Stage one: A four-chair clinic at Rangiatea, New Plymouth, and a two- chair bus for South Taranaki.

* Stage two: Three-chair clinics in Hawera and north-east New Plymouth, a two-chair clinic in Stratford and a second two chair bus for North Taranaki.


THE country's top dentist has been called in to help resolve a squabble as to where Taranaki's first new dental hub will be built.

The region's dental therapists argued that the region's new four- chair clinic should be at Taranaki Base Hospital because it was close to other health services. Others were adamant it should be at Rangiatea in Spotswood among the city's community whose dental health is most at risk.

And the Ministry of Health's oral health chief adviser, Dr Robin Whyman, has come down on the side of Rangiatea.

The new clinic is part of a $3m development of new oral health services being set up by the Taranaki District Health Board under the direction of the Ministry of Health. It is aimed at providing full oral health services for children and is focused on treating the 40% of teenagers who never visit dentists.

Once completed, the full service will include two top-of-the- line dental surgery buses, which will travel around rural schools and communities, and a series of surgeries dotted throughout Taranaki.

But when it came to deciding where the first of two purpose- built New Plymouth surgeries will be sited, decision- makers on the Taranaki Community Oral Health Steering Group could not agree, the TDHB's community, public health and disability support advisory committee was told yesterday. "Unfortunately the steering group was unable to reach agreement," planning and funding general manager Sandra Boardman said.

However the Ministry of Health's Heath Impact Support Unit concluded that the Rangiatea site was likely to have a better result in reducing health inequalities than at base hospital, she said. When this view was supported by the ministry's chief adviser of oral health, Ms Boardman said she made the final call for the clinic to go ahead at Rangiatea.

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