by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin May 2011
32 MAY 2011 national health reFOrM national dental update There was much celebration in Canberra recently when every Australian head of government signed a Heads of Agreement (HOA) on improving public hospital services and committed to signing a full National Health Reform Agreement by 1 July 2011. While Australian governments are to be congratulated on their vision and commitment in attempting to secure the long-term sustainability of Australia’s health system, the Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA) remains concerned about the lack of focus on the dental health needs of Australia’s population and specifically those most in need of dental care. kEY ELEMEnTS Of THE AGREEMEnT The HOA document outlines the roles and responsibilities of the Commonwealth, and State and Territory governments towards a unified but locally managed health system which promises increased funding and improved transparency, better access, increased services and a greater role for clinicians. The Commonwealth government will continue to have a lead role in the delivery of primary healthcare services, while States and Territories remain responsible for planning, management and control of public hospital services and public health. As previously agreed in December 2010, the Commonwealth, States and Territories will jointly fund the delivery of health services with the Commonwealth providing 60% of base funding for hospital services. From July 2012, funding will be provided under a fee for service arrangement known as ‘activity based’ funding. A statutory body known as the Independent Hospital Pricing Authority (IHPA) will determine a national agreed efficient price for every public hospital service provided across Australia and a separate funding body will oversee and administer the funding pool. DentalAccess The Agreement affirms a commitment from all Australian governments to further health reforms including improved and equitable access to high quality healthcare and a health system that promotes social inclusion and reduces disadvantage – particularly for those living in regional and remote areas and Indigenous Australians. While the Agreement speaks of improved and integrated primary healthcare services through the establishment of Medicare Locals, there is limited emphasis on how the oral health needs of Australians will be met or enhanced through the reform process. Many in the community enjoy good oral health, supported by timely access to high quality dental care. By contrast, almost 35% of the community report that they cannot access proper dental care and suffer from poor oral health, spending excessive periods – sometimes years – waiting to receive basic dental care in our public system. Groups within the adult population whose oral health is particularly poor include: the financially disadvantaged; older people; Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples; people living in rural and remote communities and people with special needs. The ongoing disparity between those who can access good dental services and those who cannot was confirmed in a recent Australian Institute of Health and Welfare report presenting the findings of the 2008 National Dental Telephone Interview Survey (NDTIS), and although self-assessment of one’s health status may be criticised this survey indicates that 21% of adults rated their oral health as only fair or poor. Cost is one of the barriers to Australians accessing proper dental care and the NDTIS report also highlights that health benefit card holders are more likely than non-card holders to avoid or delay dental care due to cost. The current impasse between the Federal government’s and the Senate’s dental agenda must be resolved urgently. Like the government, the ADA has repeatedly called for changes to the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS) so that eligibility is limited to those most in need. To support the call, in 2009 the ADA put forward a DentalAccess proposal as a model that would deliver quality dental and oral health services to those most disadvantaged in the community. The introduction of a DentalAccess program, supported with targeted funding and an improved effort on promoting individuals to look after their oral health, will go a long way to address the gap in oral healthcare in Australia. The ADA’s Pre-Budget Submission to the Federal government identifies the priority areas where investment by government will lead to necessary improvements in oral health for those currently unable to meet their needs through disadvantage. The ADA is committed to working closely with the Commonwealth government to improve the oral health of all Australians. Source: AIHW Dental Statistics and Research Unit, Research report 51: Self-rated oral health of adults 2010;51:4. National Dental Update, March 2011. 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
ADA News Bulletin April 2011
ADA News Bulletin June 2011