Incentives needed to find dentists in Southland
Blair Jackson / Stuff
Invercargill’s wife Marcie Reidy struggled to see a dentist and a painful molar was treated by the emergency dentist.
Incentives are needed to get dentists in Southland, as most practices have stopped taking new patients and waiting lists closed, according to industry officials and patients.
Invercargill’s wife Marcie Reidy sought emergency dentist treatment for her painful molar as several Invercargill offices told her they were not taking new patients and would not add it to patient lists. ‘waiting.
The president of the New Zealand Dental Association said Southland’s practices need to do more to incent dentists in the region amid the backlogs.
The association’s national president, Katie Ayers, said that in some parts of Auckland dentists were struggling to find work, but in other parts of the country patients were struggling to find dentists.
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“I think it’s a local shortage. Southland dentists have raised the shortage as a concern, ”Ayers said.
“We’re now at that point where the incentives need to happen. “
While fewer dentists have migrated to New Zealand in the past 18 months, there was a growing number of dental graduates from the University of Otago [the only place they get qualified], Ayers said.
Reidy worries people will have to follow his path to dental relief; see emergency dentist due to deadlock in Southland.
She hadn’t been to her dentist for six years, and when the molar gave her trouble, she found that the dentist had retired and she had not been transferred to the new practice.
She would either try to get an appointment at Gore or Winton, but would likely continue to see the emergency dentist.
Reidy felt disappointed with the full practices and closed waiting lists, and wondered why more dentists weren’t drawn south.
Our children are losing the battle against tooth decay.
Southland Dental Association president Kelvin Khoo said most practices in Southland have not received new patients for six months and those with long waiting lists.
Southland practices were to seek better pay for dentists in order to attract workers south, although doctors and general practitioners face similar pressures, he said.
Khoo works at Tooth Works Invercargill, which refers patients to Balclutha, Dunedin and Queenstown.
Tooth Works was turning 15 to 20 people each week, patients had to wait three months, and the practice had closed its waiting list, Khoo said.
Khoo was encouraged by a group of final year dentistry students who recently visited the area, where a few have expressed interest in moving to Southland.
The Southern District Health Board dental service at Southland Hospital provides treatment when essential for a medical or surgical condition, such as a cleft palate, when general anesthesia is required, or when the person cannot access other dentists due to physical or mental conditions.
Clinical director Nicholas Truman said the service is generally intended for hospital-level care, not an alternative to private practices.
The DHB also offered a pain relief service for low-income people, which opened in early 2019, but then reverted to more stringent terms in January of this year.
The service was opened to all community service card holders, but the number of people was too large, Truman said.
People have to get a work and income benefit again to get pain relief.
The Southland Charity Hospital, currently under construction in Invercargill, will initially focus on unmet dental and colonoscopy needs.