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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin October 2010
31 OCTOBER 2010 Australia’s newly elected parliament should commit to improving timely access to dental services for those who are currently unable to do so. Many Australians are unable to access dental services in a timely manner due to the inadequacies of the public sector State and Territory dental schemes and the maldistribution of the dental workforce. The Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA) welcomes the Labor-Greens alliance’s pledge to spend more on dental care. However, the way this pledge is implemented is crucial. THE ADA PLAn fOR DEnTAL CARE The ADA, the organization with the expertise and dedication to the improvement of oral health in the community, has for some time given all sides of politics the solution to solve problems that exist in public dental care delivery and strongly recommends the key elements of any new dental strategy must include the following: • Adoption of the ADA’s DentalAccess scheme. (Details of which can be found on the ADA website – www.ada.org.au .) DentalAccess will concentrate on delivery to the population groups whose oral health is particularly poor, including the financially disadvantaged; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons; people living in remote and regional communities and those with special needs. It will deliver appropriate and long- term dental solutions to those within the community who are disadvantaged and require assistance to achieve better oral health; • Progressive introduction of a Foundation (Intern) year to provide new dental graduates with mentoring and at the same time provide a boost to the public sector and the rural and remote dentist workforce. This will alleviate some of the problems regarding access to dental services currently suffered by disadvantaged Australians; • Introduction of rural and regional incentives for student dentists and dentists, scaled for remoteness, to correct the maldistribution of the dental workforce; • Development of educational programmes that will help all Australians (young and old) learn how best to look after their oral health to prevent decay, gum disease and oral cancer. DEnTAL CARE UnDER MEDICARE OR AnY UnIvERSAL SCHEME nOT THE WAY TO GO The ADA does not see that adopting ‘Denticare Australia’ or placing these proposals for dentistry under Medicare as properly addressing the issues that exist in Australia’s dental health. Plans like these lack an appreciation of dental health and treatment and too simplistically attempt to adopt a ‘medical’ model for a ‘dental’ problem. Experiences elsewhere in the world indicate similar schemes have failed. Universal dental plans that suggest providing basic dental treatment to all, will not address the access issues of those living in regional and remote communities, nor provide long-term dental health to those that most need it. For example, the quick fix by extraction of teeth resulting in a life sentence of wearing a denture is not the dental solution that should be offered when more viable effective outcomes can be achieved. Equity in timely access to dental care will be better achieved by targeted funding through schemes such as DentalAccess. The ADA looks forward to engaging with Government to improve access to dental care for the disadvantaged. Source: National Dental Update, September 2010. The ADA National Dental Update is a monthly publication distributed to politicians and opinion leaders. Other issues can be viewed at www.ada.org.au national dental update AChieVing eqUity for timely dental care for Australians “Australia’s newly elected parliament should commit to improving timely access to dental services for those who are currently unable to do so.”
ADA News Bulletin September 2010
ADA News Bulletin November 2010