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Update from the CE [May 2023]

It’s been a busy couple of months as far as advocacy and media work, mainly around access to care issues, which we have been highlighting at every opportunity with media and will continue to do so in the coming months leading up to the general election to influence and inform policy platforms as much as we can.

At the end of April, we met with Health Minister Ayesha Verrall and outlined our Association’s key concerns, including the need to extend free or subsidised dental care to more low-income adults to enable more of them to access the care they need but cannot afford. 

We continue to see an increase in referrals to, and self-admissions presenting at hospital emergency departments for dental services, resulting in overloading of our already stretched hospital teams. Then there are the numerous and complex issues hamstringing the Community Oral Health Service from getting on top of persisting arrears rates, and the critical shortages in Anaesthetic Technicians impacting the ability of all surgical teams, including our hospital dental teams, to treat those languishing on ever longer waiting lists.          

Over the coming weeks, we expect to meet with several opposition health spokespeople to push our case for increased access to care for low-income New Zealanders and present NZDA’s solutions to these issues. At a high level, our recommendations include expanding public funded dental care from 18, to up to 25 years of age, along with broadening eligibility to enable more low-income adults to access MSD dental grants. 

Our next confirmed meeting will be with Minister Barbara Edmonds to discuss the negative impact sugary are drinks are having on our country’s children, particularly Māori and Pacifika, and the need to move to a water-only policy at all schools in New Zealand. This, along with the expansion of adequate and consistent fluoridation of town water supplies remain the two simplest and cost-effective ways to protect the oral health of our youngest and ease pressure and associated costs to publicly funded dental services. 

Please, if you haven’t already, join our members-only Facebook page to be kept up to the date with the latest news and updates from our team, including relevant media stories and updates on the upcoming NZDA Conference and Expo taking place in Wellington in August.    

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