Dental clinics at schools

District Health Boards (DHBs) provide oral health services at many schools. You might have a permanent clinic at your school, one that’s built by the DHB or one that’s run by a private contractor. All are covered by standard agreements between you, as a board of trustees, and the DHB.

About the different arrangements for dental clinics

There are different arrangements for dental clinics (or oral health services) at your school.

You might have a:

  • fixed dental clinic, either owned by us or the DHB
  • mobile unit with a permanent site at your school
  • mobile dental unit with no permanent pad, known as a level 1 dental unit
  • mobile dental unit run by a private contractor.

All these arrangements are covered by standard agreements between you and the DHB.

There are 3 standard agreements:

  1. The standard lease for a fixed dental clinic and the mobile unit with a permanent site at your school.
  2. A memorandum of understanding for a level 1 dental unit.
  3. An agreement for a DHB contractor to run a mobile unit at your school.

Fixed dental clinic or mobile unit with a permanent site

These clinics are covered by the standard lease [DOC, 149 KB]. A clinic might be:

  • an existing clinic that’s owned by the Ministry of Education
  • a clinic or oral health centre that’s built and owned by the DHB
  • a mobile unit that’s operating on a pad that is specifically for the mobile unit.

Knowing the standard lease

These are some of the key terms of the standard lease:

  • The DHB is responsible for all costs of the clinic, including:
    • maintenance and upgrades
    • rates and charges for water, gas, electricity and telephone
    • insurance costs
    • cleaning
    • maintaining the grounds and car parks.
  • The lease is for 35 years.
  • The DHB must get your and our consent before doing any building work.
  • The lease can be ended by the DHB giving 3 months’ notice, or if the school closes but you cannot evict the DHB.
  • If the DHB owns the dental clinic and wants to end the lease, the DHB must remove the building or give up its ownership.
  • If your school shares facilities with the DHB, then you share the operating costs.

Changing the standard lease is not allowed

You cannot change the lease. You can use Schedule C of the lease to cover practical things, such as:

  • access to toilets for clinic staff
  • access to the clinic
  • parking
  • security.

You must agree to these things with the DHB before you sign the lease.

Signing the lease

The lease is approved by us and the Ministry of Health so you do not need to get independent advice.

We manage the signing process. There are 3 signatories:

  • the Ministry of Education – we are not a party to the lease but need to sign our consent
  • the board of trustees
  • the DHB.

Once the lease is signed, everyone gets a copy.

Allowing the DHB to do building work

At times, the DHB may want to do building work on the clinic. This could be:

  • refurbishing a clinic
  • building a new clinic
  • building a pad for a mobile unit.

To allow building work, a terms of approval agreement [DOC, 64 KB] must be signed by you and the DHB before any building work is started.

DHBs must comply with our design standards for any building work on school sites.

Insurance for building work

The DHB is responsible for getting insurance for the time of the building work. This includes:

  • public risk liability insurance
  • contract works and professional indemnity insurance.

Mobile unit with no permanent pad

A mobile unit with no permanent place at your school is called a level 1 dental unit. A level 1 unit is used for x-rays and some treatments, but not for drilling and filling. They are parked at the school for a few days a year.

Level 1 units are covered by a memorandum of understanding [DOC, 84 KB] between you and the DHB that includes arrangements for:

  • electricity and water supply 
  • access to the school for staff working at the unit.

You cannot alter the memorandum, but it includes a schedule, which lets you and the DHB decide on operational things like keys and access to toilets.

Signing the memorandum of understanding

The memorandum is approved by us and the Ministry of Health, so you don’t need independent legal advice.

There are 2 signatories:

  • the board of trustees
  • the DHB.

Once it’s signed, make sure you get a copy. You must also send a copy to your local Ministry office.

Mobile unit run by a private contractor

Some DHBs contract private providers for dental services. These private contractors supply all their own equipment and work from mobile units.

This arrangement is covered by a casual use licence [DOC, 62 KB].

You cannot change this licence. It allows you to charge a fee of $10.00, but you cannot charge any other rent or payments. You sign this contract with the private contractor.

Once it’s signed, make sure you get a copy. You must also send a copy to your local Ministry office.

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