The UCSA has been inundated with questions as to how we manage to provide the level of dental assistance to students that we do. If you are interested in how this has all come about, UCSA President Erin Jackson, has outlined this for you below...
The UCSA Advocacy and Welfare Team is funded through the Student Services Levy and comprises a portion of the funding that the UCSA receives through its Service Level Agreement with the University. Basically, we “bid” for funding from the levy pool (and last year received around 24% of that total amount). THAT money then funds all of the UCSA services; so regardless of whether you are a UCSA member or not, you can access things like dental, clubs, Canta, etc.
In order to know what that money should be spent on, we carry out a Student Survey once a year that talks about questions such as “what would you spend on these services”, “rank what you value the most” and so on. You can have a look at this survey here.
It’s important to note that the levy allocation is dictated by legislation, and so there are some things that cannot be funded by the levy; such as food and beverage (you’ll see that in the survey at times).
Anyway, a couple of years ago, students asked for emergency dental support: wisdom teeth and root canal kind of stuff. Following that (after we introduced a scheme), we saw a demand for subsidised dental through the survey.
So, from there, it was a case of packaging up what that might look like (and cost) and how we could incorporate it for 2013. As such, when we were preparing budgets for 2013 (which obviously get talked about anywhere from May / June of 2012), we were able to show that 1) there was a need and demand for it and 2) we could make it happen.
There has obviously been a huge amount of work to get the program off the ground; and we have been fortunate to have been able to work really well with important parties like the Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB). However, the results of the first few weeks that the clinic has been open have been so amazing, it’s made the past few months absolutely worth it!
The UCSA have a licence to occupy the Burnside Community Dental Centre through the CDHB. We pay them a fee based on our hours in the clinic and this includes the use of some materials. As well as providing us with a space and materials, the CDHB have provided invaluable advice and assistance on this new undertaking. The UCSA have then contracted the services of a dentist, and employed 3 dental assistants to provide students with affordable, quality dental care.