Heat closes clinic, again

Alison Rich
Alison Rich
A Clinic in the University of Otago's Faculty of Dentistry closed yesterday due to high temperatures inside the building - the sixth time this month clinics have been closed.

Dentistry faculty dean Alison Rich said 100 appointments were cancelled yesterday afternoon, and were being rescheduled due to the heat, despite MetService stating the temperature in the city yesterday reached only 19degC.

The 4N clinic, which is one of six clinics at the school, was closed, and on March 13, and March 6, 7 and 8 some or all clinics were closed for the same reason.

About 500 appointments were cancelled over a two-day period, on March 6 and 7.

''Staff raised concerns about the temperature and the comfort and wellbeing of patients,'' Prof Rich said.

The temperature inside the clinics was recorded, and 30degC was the temperature at which the health and safety compliance team was notified.

Only one of the clinics inside the building had air conditioning, Prof Rich said.

''Cooling methods are being investigated. All these clinics are moving in to the new Clinical Services Building which will have a heating and cooling system when it is completed in April.''

Dental procedures could be stressful, and when heat stress was added they could have a negative impact on patient safety and wellbeing.

The new Faculty of Dentistry building is due to be opened next month.

elena.mcphee@odt.co.nz

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