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Dental pain for 60,000 Vics if funds cut: CEO

Posted 05 December 2016

More than 60,000 Victorians will miss out on all-important dental care if its federal funding is not guaranteed, the CEO of the Victorian Healthcare Association Tom Symondson said today.

“The VHA is deeply concerned that the provision of public dental services to many vulnerable Victorians will be jeopardized if funding certainty is not urgently addressed,” Mr Symondson said.

The VHA is the not-for-profit peak body supporting Victoria’s public hospitals, community health services and aged care providers to deliver quality care. These include providers of public dental care of vulnerable Victorians – including children, people on concession cards, refugees and asylum seekers – at more than 100 sites.

“Continued access to dental care is a critical public health issue. Poor oral health is a leading cause of avoidable death in Australia and contributes to poor diet and nutrition, mental health and poor self-esteem.”

Dental admissions were the highest cause of acute preventable hospital admissions for Victorians aged under 20, Mr Symondson said.

The VHA has written to the Federal Health Minister Sussan Ley to express its concern and seek clarity about the current Commonwealth funding arrangements, due to expire on December 31, 2016.

The National Partnership Agreement on Adult Public Dental Services concluded in June, but was extended until December 31 this year by Minister Ley.

Public access to the Child Dental Benefits Schedule also concludes on December 31. (The VHA understands private patients will still be able to access it.)

“Several of our members have already begun to reduce dental staffing due to the uncertainty. We believe more than 30 clinical jobs will be lost if funding is not maintained.”

 The Age >> Fears for tens of thousands access to critical dental treatment

For more information contact:

Rosanne Michie | Director of Media and Communications

m. 0411 868535 or e. rosanne.michie@vha.org.au 

 

December 5, 2016

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