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The New Zealand Dental Services

The Second Year, 1 April 1941 to 31 March 1942

The Second Year, 1 April 1941 to 31 March 1942

During this year the three services grew to such an extent that the problem of supply assumed great importance. Prior to 1941 the only dental stores and equipment used by the Royal New Zealand Navy were supplied by the Admiralty, but in June of that year the DDS took these over. New dental sections for the Navy were established at the Naval Base, HMNZS Philomel, in the two cruisers Achilles and Leander and in the auxiliary cruiser Monowai. These now drew supplies from the Army Base Dental Store. At the same time the first changes in unit accounting began as the ship's dental officers were made accounting officers working under the army system.

For some time the army camp quartermasters had been having difficulty in accounting for dental stores because of unfamiliarity with technical nomenclature and usage. They had been asked to take the responsibility for a large amount of expensive stock and equipment which they could not check without expert advice. They had no knowledge of what constituted a reasonable rate at which expendable material should be consumed and, without some idea of the nature of the stock, no method of judging with any certainty whether it was expendable or non-expendable. Who but a dentist for instance would know that, while the handle of a mouth mirror is obviously non-expendable stock, the mirror which screws into page 88 it is just as obviously expendable because of the ease with which it is made unserviceable by scratching? Technical stores are better and more easily handled by those who understand their uses. The main mobilisation camps and the Air Force made no change as yet, but in the case of all other dental sections the stores were vouchered direct to the dental officer, who became the accounting officer.

During this year nine mobile dental sections were established. As these consisted of a headquarters section and six sub-sections, each commanded by a dental officer, the senior dental officer became the accounting officer and distributed the stores to his sub-sections.

With the mobile sections, static sections, mobilisation camps, naval and Air Force sections to supply, it is small wonder that the resources of the store were taxed to the limit. Such equipment as dental engines, chairs, vulcanisers and sterilisers were in very short supply and the arrival of stocks from overseas was uncertain. In March 1942 an urgent appeal was made to the dentists of the country for any equipment they could spare. Out of 245 who were circularised, 150 replied offering equipment of all sorts for sale, loan or gift.

As a comparison with the previous year, 22 dental establishments besides the mobile sections were supplied, 1055 issues were made and stores to the value of £17,280 were received. Requisitions were placed overseas amounting to £19,000, made up of £18,740 from the United States of America and £250 from Australia.