Dentist arrives in Wairoa after two years away

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A small town in Hawke’s Bay had its dental hole filled after two years, albeit temporarily.

Hawke’s Bay DHB has announced that it is funding a substitute dental service for Wairoa for the next year.
Photo: 123RF

After the March 2020 lockdown, Wairoa lost its last dentist and hasn’t had one since.

Residents of the small town of around 4,500 were forced to make the 1.5-hour journey for treatment – either north to Gisborne or south to Napier.

But on Thursday the Hawke’s Bay DHB announced it was funding a substitute dental service to provide adult care for the next year.

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The only dental clinic currently operating in the city was that of tamariki and rangatahi.

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Hawke’s Bay DHB executive director, planning and funding, Emma Foster, said the appointment of the replacement was the result of a growing need after no new vendors stepped in after the last vendor left.

“The lack of adult dental care in the city has been a financial and physical burden on Wairoa whānau and we have worked hard to find a solution that meets people’s needs and improves community well-being,” said Foster. .

Delivery of the service would be managed by Kahungunu Executive in conjunction with the Health Board’s Community Oral Health Service and locum dentists.

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The service would operate for at least 40 Saturdays through June 2023 until a more permanent solution could be found, Foster said.

Wairoa Mayor Craig Little welcomed the result, while acknowledging it was a temporary fix.

“Obviously a lot of people have worked hard to get to where we are.

“Right now it’s probably going to cost you $100 in gas to get to Gisborne or Napier. And then quite often you do a little bit and have to go back and do the rest once it’s all over. ruler.”

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Little said the alternate would run out of Wairoa College, the same location that housed Tō Waha – a week-long volunteer dental initiative that took place in January.

During this week, volunteers from all over the country treated 307 patients, working up to 13 hours a day.

More than 300 teeth were extracted and 277 fillings made.

Further information will be released soon on the booking process for the next appointments which are expected to start at the end of May.

Local Democracy Reporting is public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air

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