ADA NSW calls on government to commit to funding for a seniors oral health scheme 

senior dental benefits scheme
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Three years since the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety (RCACQS) made its recommendations, the Australian Dental Association NSW Branch is calling on the government to ensure funding for a dental benefits scheme for senior Australians in the upcoming Federal Budget.

This comes as more Australians are living longer and the number of people over 85 is set to double in the next 25 years. The cost of poor oral health for older Australians has been put at more than $750 million per annum.

Back in March 2021, several key dental and oral health recommendations were made in the RCACQS final report. At the time, ADA NSW welcomed the fact the Royal Commission had included in the draft Revised Aged Care Quality Standards new oral health requirements. 

Yet very few recommendations have been implemented leaving an oral health care crisis in the making.

“In line with the Federal ADA 2024-25 Budget submission, we at ADA NSW want to see more government investment in oral health care.” ADA NSW president Dr Dominic Aouad said.

“We know this is offset by reductions in health care costs elsewhere.”

The 2024-25 budget submission made by the Federal ADA last month focuses on opportunities to:

• create a senior dental benefits scheme,

• enhance the child dental benefits scheme,

• adjust public dental services for adults funding arrangements, and

• consider the introduction of health savings accounts.

“We want to ensure the recommended revised standards from the royal commission findings in 2021 will lead to greater improvements in oral health including investment in seniors,” Dr Aouad said.

“The government response to the royal commission report indicates that this recommendation was subject to further consideration by 2023. In its submissions to the royal commission, the ADA outlined the need for an SDBS and its benefits relative to other models. Now is the time to put money behind this scheme.”

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