South Auckland dental clinic on track to be finished in 2020
AUCKLAND, New Zealand: The current state of many New Zealanders’ oral health is well below where it should be. Access and cost play important roles in contributing to this situation. In December 2018, the University of Otago began the construction of a two-storey 32-chair dental clinic and teaching facility in South Auckland that will play a pivotal role in dealing with some of the oral health issues experienced by residents of New Zealand’s largest city and its surrounding area. Construction is well into its second year, and all signs point to it being completed by February 2020.
As reported by Dental Tribune in 2018, University of Otago Vice Chancellor Prof. Harlene Hayne believes that the NZ$28.2 million two-storey clinic will make a true difference to the lives of patients and to the broader community’s health and well-being. She noted that the Faculty of Dentistry will regularly consult the community to find out what is needed from the clinic and will then work to deliver it. A wide range of outreach activities will also be provided.
Tenting is now being erected over the building so that the next phase of construction can begin. This will bring the much-needed services that the clinic will provide a step closer. Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Division of Health Sciences Prof. Paul Brunton said that the dental clinic will aim to help meet major health needs and provide students with wide-ranging learning opportunities in a diverse community. He believes that this will increase their understanding of people from a range of backgrounds.
The cost of dentistry in New Zealand is very much at the higher end of the scale. For this reason, the clinic will follow the long-standing social contract model operated successfully in Dunedin, where patients receive treatment provided by students under supervision at a highly affordable cost.