Dentists Support Industrial Action By Public Sector Oral Health Therapists, Dental Therapists And Dental Assistants

The New Zealand Dental Association (NZDA) is backing
industrial action currently being undertaken by members of
the Public Service Association, which includes Oral Health
Therapists.

NZDA Access to Care spokesperson Dr Katie
Ayers says Oral Health Therapists invest thousands of
dollars in their education but commence their professional
careers on unreasonably low wages.

“Oral Health
Therapists complete three-year University degrees and most
will incur significant debt in the process. They then start
on an hourly rate as low as $22.50 per hour in the public
system – barely over minimum wage,” said Dr
Ayers.

“We do want to acknowledge that this action
will be disruptive to our members, and those requiring
public dental care, but this is a crucial issue that needs
to be brought to wider attention.

“Strike action is
always disruptive, but New Zealand’s Community Oral Health
Service, established over 100 years ago and which was once
the envy of the world, is now desperately under-resourced
and in a critical condition. With over 50% of children
overdue for their dental check-ups in some DHBs we urgently
need to address the workforce issues which have been
festering for years.

“It is a situation that is
unsustainable, it requires more funding and the Government
must step up here,” concludes Dr
Ayers.

© Scoop Media

 

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