More than 96,000 New Zealand children wait for overdue checks under a "failing" dental system, says an expert.
At the annual conference of the New Zealand Dental Association last week, President Dr. Bill O & # 39; Connor that the Community Oral Health Service did not have New Zealand children.
Health Minister David Clark said, however, that he currently did not believe that a service assessment would be suitable & # 39; used to be.
Last year, 29,000 children had their teeth and 7,000 required dental treatment under general anesthesia, said O & # 39; Connor.
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"Today 120 young Kiwi children will get their teeth, why have not they been treated before they have reached this point?", He said.
Preschoolers and primary school children up to and including school year 8 have access to free, public, financial basic health services.
These are available through the Community Oral Health Service, delivered by DHBs throughout New Zealand.
O & # 39; Connor said that the problem was not with the dentists, but with the system.
"The system has failed in these children and their parents, and the system has failed those who work and tried to achieve the best results for their patients."
The government reduced the success of the service to the number of children enrolled, but this was at odds with the large number of school-age children with untreated tooth decay, he said.
Instead, children were left in the lurch due to a lack of continuous care, he said.
"Children are not allowed to choose what they eat or drink, they do not opt for rotten teeth and the pain and suffering that goes with them.
"They choose not to live in areas that are hopelessly unable to meet the treatment needs of their population," he said.
O & # 39; Connor said it was time that the government started seriously with "this terrible situation", and called on the Minister of Health to make it a priority.
"It's time to take care of our children."
Clark said New Zealand "has a great unmet need for dental care in this country".
"We have people struggling with health conditions in the developing world due to poor oral hygiene and inability to access the care and treatment they need."
Clark said, however, that he was aware of major improvements in oral health for children of all populations in recent years, since the last Labor-led government started a reinvestment program for the Community Oral Health Services.
"There is clearly more to do."
Clark said he had made it clear that equality was a key priority under this government.
DHBs are expected to report on how they improve the return on outcomes across the board.
"At the moment I am advised that 85% of the children are seen on time by the Community Oral Health Service, although the number of overdue children is currently higher than the intended target." The ministry continues to cooperate with DHBs to reduce the percentage to reduce overdue appointments, "he said.
Clark said the reinvestment program started to show positive results.
"The current objective for the Ministry of Health and DHBs is to continue to ensure the benefits of the current care model, with particular emphasis on reducing inequalities and increasing the involvement of pre-schoolers and their families / whānau in the Community Health Service. "