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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin September 2010
40 SEPTEMBER 2010 committee report This and other similar experiences led me to undertake training to provide the following in the practice -- general restorative and preventive dentistry; endodontics; fixed and removable prosthodontics; periodontics; paedodontics; fixed orthodontics and the provision of special needs dentistry. Regular sessions for restorative and minor surgical treatment under general anaesthesia are conducted at the Maryborough and District Hospital. Anaesthetic services are provided by two local GPs who have dedicated 25 years to this clinical area, along with their own private practices they also participate as mentors and examiners in rural medicine. • An additional service by the practice is to triage public patients whose daily enquiries for treatment is high. Given the practice is booked for months ahead we provide emergency care to those at risk of serious morbidity and information on other clinics in the region. The EPC scheme is allowing some extreme needs patients to be treated. The public dental clinic has not had a dentist in 2010. • A long standing associateship of 35 years and other dentists who have stayed for ten or more years. Rotation of five dentists through the three highly equipped surgeries, none of whom work a five-day week. The structure means three surgeries are operating full-time enabling cost efficiencies and allows time- off during the working week. Group practice offers benefits of collegiality and peer support for country dentists. I cannot over emphasise the importance of a work/life balance and believe working in a group practice contributes to this. • Staffing -- one of the greatest influences for me staying in country practice has been the availability of talented and long- term loyal staff. With this stability comes the opportunity to train staff to a high level thus building the necessary team to manage a busy practice and keeping it running smoothly. • There is high patient continuity of attendance which allows planned, staged dental care to be provided with an accurate view of the results of one's work over the years. THE FUTURE As an individual practitioner, I encourage consideration of undertaking rural practice for the clinical experiences, professional fulfilment and lifestyle choices. The bigger picture is concerning with problems of rural practice not being a preferred choice which is leaving large and small populations without access to continuous high standard dental treatment. We must improve access for country kids to choose dentistry as a career choice and remove the barriers that prevent them doing so. Areas to be addressed should include the difficulty of achieving a high enough TER from a rural school and meeting criteria for entry to university. Also the availability of housing and financial support during studies needs attention. I believe the DentalAccess Scheme proposed by the Australian Dental Association will go some way to addressing the dental health crisis in rural areas by allowing treatment of needy members of the community in private practices. I am proud to have provided dental care to my community and hope reality prevails amongst the political and academic decision makers that private practice is the only way that rural and remote people will ever receive continuous planned dental treatment. As I move closer to retirement I would like to know that the resources available for dentistry in Australia are being used to skill up a wide range of dentists some of whom are equipped to practice in rural areas. Simon Sheed On behalf of the Rural Oral Health Advisory Panel Northern Territory 1974 -- Dental Mobile on the road to Barroloola. L to R: Brian Harford (Dental Technician) and Simon Sheed (Dentist). Dental surgery. L to R: John Hazledine and Simon Sheed.
ADA News Bulletin August 2010
ADA News Bulletin October 2010