Greens release dental policy

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Greens candidate Fiona Byrne

In the lead-up to the NSW state election, on Sunday Fiona Byrne, The Greens candidate for Marrickville, launched The Greens’ ‘Dental Care for All’ policy platform that aims to bring relief to the 132,800 people currently on waiting lists for general dental services in NSW.

The Greens will implement the recommendations of dentists and dental health advocates in the Oral Health Alliance, including:

Increase funding for dental care by $102.5 million pa to take NSW from the lowest per capita funder of these services to the equal highest with Queensland,

Commission the development of a dental workforce strategy and invest in the training of new dental health professionals, • Invest in new public dental clinics including mobile and community-based services,

Fund targeted initiatives for the Aboriginal community (by boosting the Wicked Smiles program), older people, people with an intellectual disability, refugees and rural and remote communities.

The Greens will also increase funding for preventative dental services to ensure that every young person is seen by a dentist or a dental hygienist within the first three years of schooling.

Investing in dental services will reduce costs in the health sector and alleviate the pain suffered by many elderly and disadvantaged people in NSW.

Greens candidate for Marrickville Fiona Byrne said:

“Over 50 per cent of patients on the public dental health waiting list have been there for more than six months, many of them in great pain.

“Too many young people, particularly those from disadvantaged communities and living in rural and regional NSW, are not being seen by any kind of dental professional.

“Health Minister Carmel Tebbutt has presided over a standstill budget for public dental services. NSW has fallen badly behind. NSW now has the lowest level of per capita spending on oral health.

“Older people, people with intellectual disabilities and Aboriginal people who rely on public dental services would get a better deal in any other state or territory. The Coalition’s dental health promise falls well short of the $100 million a year needed to line up with Australian best practice.

“Their $208.25 million promise is spread over four years. The Coalition would leave many elderly and disadvantaged people still suffering while they wait for an over stretched public dental system to service their needs.

“The future of public dentistry is grim under both Labor and the Coalition.

“Neither will ensure enough funds to secure and implement a plan to build a public workforce or provide mobile and community-based services,” Ms Byrne said.

 

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