Despite what it considers to be a range of good health measures in the ALP’s election platform, the Victorian Oral Health Alliance stated recently that more needs to be done to improve public dental care for the 2.5 million Victorians who are eligible.
“With over 140,000 Victorians currently on public waiting lists for general dental care, a commitment to a significant funding increase is needed to tackle one of the largest inequities in the Victorian health system,” VOHA spokesperson Tony McBride said.
The alliance said it welcomed the ALP’s commitments to existing dental initiatives such as reducing the gap in oral health outcomes for people at higher risk of oral disease, increasing dental services for Aboriginal Victorians, continuing to provide public dental care in community health centres and expanding the availability of fluoridated water supplies. But with public dental waiting times now exceeding 20 months, much more needs to be done to provide vulnerable Victorians with the care that they need.
In a press release issued on the subject, VOHA acknowledged recent cuts to Federal Government funding but noted that “this funding cut is only a small part of the overall public dental budget in Victoria, and ultimately the responsibility for public dental care rests with the State Government.”
It continued: “VOHA is urging both levels of government to commit to increasing the target number of patients treated to 800,000 per year by 2023, with an appropriate increase in funding in order to achieve this. This would require an additional $40 million for the 2019/20 budget, which would go a long way to assist with much needed dental care for Victorians.”