The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is continuing calls for better access to dental care for low-income New Zealanders this National Oral Health Day, 5 November.

Prior to the last election, NZDA released a report outlining advice to the Government on how to improve the access to care for the most vulnerable. 

Key recommendations included: immediately increasing the MSD emergency dental grant from $300 – $1000, extending government-funded dental care to include 18 – 24 year-old beneficiaries, and piloting innovative new services for high needs communities. 

NZDA’s Access to Care Spokesperson, Dr Katie Ayers says she is very disappointed that the Government has not yet delivered on its pre-election promise.

“We advised that increasing urgent dental grants for the most in need was something that needed to happen within 12 months, and we will be devastated if the Government fails to deliver on their 2020 promise to address this before the next election. Funding for urgent dental grants has not increased in the 26 years I have been a dentist. 

Our second key recommendation was to extend funded dental care to vulnerable 18 -24-year-olds. While the Covid-19 pandemic may be offered as an excuse for this not happening, we have seen that lockdowns have resulted in further barriers to dental treatment and the oral health needs of the population are greater than ever,” concluded Dr Ayers.

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