Free dental, counselling services for new site

REBECCA TODD
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2011

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The Canterbury Charity Hospital is expanding to include free dental care and counselling.

The Canterbury Charity Hospital Trust has bought another property in Harewood Rd and teamed with the Canterbury Dental Association to provide the new service.

Trust chairman Philip Bagshaw said the trust was raising funds to convert the new building, which would have space for three consulting rooms, a waiting room, staff areas and a dental surgery.

He said the need for counselling services became clear after the February earthquake, with many people suffering from stress and trauma.

The need was overwhelming and portacabins provided free by Mainzeal Construction and March Construction were brought in to house the growing number of volunteers and patients.

Bagshaw said 40 professional counsellors had given their services free, seeing about 25 patients a day.

"There is no doubt in our minds that the demand for counselling will continue over the coming months and possibly even years as a result of the earthquake," he said.

"We needed to find a way to continue to offer counselling services, but also needed to get back into providing day surgery and medical outpatient clinics. The purchase of 351 Harewood Rd will enable us to do both, and more."

The immediate past president of the Canterbury branch of the New Zealand Dental Association, Susan Gorrie, said dentists were enthusiastic about offering their services to the Canterbury Charity Hospital.

"The public hospital's dental department now offers only very limited dental services," she said.

Gorrie said there had been an 18-chair facility at Christchurch Hospital but it was damaged in the quake.

A survey of members showed they could provide free dental services three days a week, she said.

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- The Press

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