The New Zealand Dental Services
THE outbreak of war in September 1939 found the New Zealand Dental Corps poor in strength but rich in theory. A peacetime establishment had been recognised, and although a full wartime establishment was not generally welcomed, there was at least an admission that without dentistry the health service to the armed forces was incomplete. The admission had advanced little beyond the conception of a cadre staff of trained organisers and an unspecified number of civilian executives. How far this conception fell short of the actual requirements and the story of the fight for recognition will be told later. In the meantime, the suggested plan for the examination and treatment of troops in the event of mobilisation had to be carried into effect with the dental forces available at the time. The position was definitely better than that existing at the beginning of the first war.
It has already been mentioned in the previous chapter that Lieutenant-Colonel Finn had submitted certain proposals to Headquarters for action in the case of general mobilisation. This transition period is concerned chiefly with two aspects of these proposals:
The standard of dental fitness expected of the troops.
The methods by which dental fitness was established.