Extraction of stranded WDHB dental caravan to take time

26 June 2015

A Whanganui DHB mobile dental unit, similar to this, is trapped by slips on the Whanganui River Road and is likely to be stranded for an extended period of time.
A Whanganui District Health Board (WDHB) mobile dental unit, trapped up the Whanganui River Road at Ranana by flood-induced slips over the weekend, is likely to be stranded for an extended period of time and will potentially have a flow-on effect on services well into Term 3.
This dental caravan, in particular, visits schools to provide treatment to students who are typically most at risk, in terms of their dental health. It has been at the Whanganui Awa School at Ranana since the middle of June for its annual treatment visit and was due to be transported to Brunswick School last Saturday.
Whanganui DHB dental health manager Barbara Dewson says the dental unit is 43 kilometres up the Whanganui River Road and is likely to be there for some time waiting for road access to be restored following the recent floods.  
“Our transporter tried making its way up the road early on Saturday morning but was soon stopped by the slips,” says Mrs Dewson. “He was only able to make it 15 kilometres along before he had to turn around.”
“All the Whanganui Awa School students who needed to be seen had already been through but it’s the longer term flow-on effects of having one of the units unavailable which will impact most, and that we are needing to plan accordingly for now.”
The mobile unit was to be moved to Brunswick School next, and then onto Churton, Mosston, St. Mary’s and Faith City schools in the third term.
“Be assured that we will be doing everything we can to make sure there’s as little disruption to the service as possible. We’re currently looking at what alternative options we have available to us,” says Mrs Dewson. “It could be that another DHB has a dental unit available for us to borrow.”
Whanganui DHB lent one of their brand new two-chair mobile dental units to Canterbury DHB following the February 2011 earthquakes to help the DHB look after Canterbury residents that needed hospital level dental care.