The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) has surveyed members, and reports that dentists throughout New Zealand are willing to provide emergency treatment during the coronavirus alert level 4 period.
Of the 656 dentists responding to the survey, most have been forced to shut down through lack of safety equipment. Even at this stage, over half have indicated they are still prepared to offer urgent emergency dental treatment to their patients during the lockdown.
NZDA President Dr Katie Ayers says a major barrier to being able to provide emergency care, thus avoiding pain and suffering, is a lack of personal protective equipment (PPE).
“We are being told by members that there is simply not enough PPE available to substantially offer emergency dental services within the guidelines enforced by the Dental Council.
“Dentists are incredibly upset that they are unable to help patients, many of whom are in dire need, due to the lack of PPE.”
NZDA will continue to urge the Ministry of Health and District Health Boards to grant access to appropriate PPE for its members from the government reserve stockpile.