Referral Criteria for Acceptance by the Taranaki District Health Board Dental Unit

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Referral Criteria for Acceptance by the Taranaki District Health Board Dental Unit

Title of Policy Manual:

Dental Unit Policy Manual

Date Last Issued:

December 2010

Review By Date:

June 2011


Dental Unit Co-ordinator

Authorised By:

Head of Department Dental




1 of 4

This criteria is designed to encompass the Taranaki DHB Dental service in its entirety to ensure equity of access and treatment across the whole region. It covers:

  • Taranaki Base Hospital Outpatient services, Inpatient surgical services and Day stay -surgical services.

  • Hawera Hospital Outpatient services, Surgical service via mobile surgical bus

Service Priority Groups1

Patients referred by a Registered Health Practitioner and whose dental treatment can only be, or is most appropriately, provided within a hospital setting and will include:

  • hospital inpatients requiring essential dental treatment

  • people requiring primary, secondary or tertiary oral health care in conjunction with other hospital treatment

  • people needing inpatient, day-patient and outpatient dental services that are not available from a dentist or other oral health professional in an oral health service in the community because of their special dental or medical condition, disability or their need for special management facilities.

  • basic dental services for low income adults who hold a Community Services Card or who are eligible for WINZ Funding - where capacity and funding allows,

Service Levels

Primary Services

The Service will provide primary oral health care services for people needing special care because of medical, physical, intellectual or psychological conditions and disabilities, which preclude them from accessing care in the community. People needing such special care may include;

  • residents of community residential disability services,

  • residents of aged residential-care rest homes,

  • dementia and hospital care facilities;

  • care recipients under the Intellectual Disability (Compulsory Care and Rehabilitation) Act 2003; and

  • care recipients under the Criminal Procedure (Mentally Impaired) Act 2003.

Emergency dental services for the assessment and management of: severe orofacial infections; uncontrolled oral haemorrhage; and/or orofacial trauma.

  • On call after hours roster for acute oral health presentations

  • On call after hours regional acute service for oral and maxillofacial surgery for the treatment of acute trauma.

Basic dental services for low income adults who hold a Community Services Card or who are eligible for WINZ Funding - where capacity and funding allow

Secondary and Tertiary Services

  • dental treatment is an essential part of hospital treatment for a current medical or surgical condition

  • a hospital admission is required because of the need for special management facilities in order to provide dental treatment, such as general anaesthetics

  • general and specialist dental services as required for persons needing special care because of medical or congenital conditions and/or physical, sensory, intellectual or psychological disabilities.


Services not provided by the oral health dental service unless suitably eligible.

All routine dental services including:

  • Check-ups

  • X-rays

  • Fillings

  • Scale and cleans

  • Root canal fillings

  • Any restorative work such as crowns or dentures

Patients must visit a private dentist for this type of dental work.

Clinical Referral Guidelines for Practitioners

The following clinical referral guidelines are to be read conjunction with the overall referral criteria for the Taranaki DHB Dental Unit.

Please use the Dental Department Referral Form. Your referral letter or form should include a summary of medical conditions, medications, allergies, previous referrals, Community Services Card Number.

Prioritisation Criteria for First Specialist Assessment (FSA)

The Service will provide access to care within the times specified in the Elective Services National Access Criteria for First Assessment.

These are:

  1. immediate within 24 hours

  2. urgent within 2 weeks

  3. semi-urgent within 8 weeks

  4. routine within 24 weeks.

Referring practitioners will be informed when inappropriate referrals are received and when practicable, the referred person will also be informed of their ineligibility for treatment and provided with advice about accessing alternative care.

User Charges and Co-payments

For residents of New Zealand who are eligible for DHB Provider Services funded by the Crown, dental services will be provided free of charge for:

  • inpatient services

  • day-patient services

  • services provided to children and adolescents aged 0 to 18 years that are covered in the scope of the Combined Dental Agreement, and

  • services provided to children and adolescents aged 0 to 18 years for orthodontic treatment for the correction of severe congenital craniofacial abnormalities and malocclusions.

For all other services Taranaki DHB may charge co-payments to Service users for outpatient dental treatment other than that described above.

Emergency dental services for low income adults

Taranaki DHB funds a number of private dentists to provide Emergency (essential) subsidised emergency dental care. This service is for the provision of immediate services necessary for the relief of pain and infection and is available for holders of a valid Community Services Card.  There is a part user charge of $40 per visit if criteria are reached.

Subsidised Emergency Dental Care Clinics

Dental Practice


Phone Number

Sandie Pryor

Patea Health Centre ,1 Lincoln St, Patea

06 273 8088

Inglewood Dental Surgery

12 Browne St, Inglewood

06 756 8717

Te Aitiawa Dental

By Referral from Te Aitiawa Medical Only

06 758 2300

A WINZ subsidy may be available via some dentists

1 Oral Health Services - Hospital Dental Services tier two service specification December 2009 - Nationwide Service Framework

Taranaki District Health Board Dental Unit Referral Guidelines December 2010

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