Representatives from Charles Sturt University (CSU), the Australian Dental Association and NSW Dental Association have met to discuss strategies to better address dentist shortages in rural and regional areas of Australia.
Attending the meeting were CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann, Head of the CSU School of Dentistry and Health Sciences Professor David Wilson, Australian Dental Association Inc.(ADA) president Dr Karin Alexander and ADA NSW Branch president Dr Tom Lind.
All parties acknowledged the rapid growth in dental student places nationally, and the importance of ensuring that the number and distribution of dental graduates in future was better aligned to areas of need.
After detailed discussions the parties agreed to work together to ensure that the needs of rural and regional communities are met.
“The meeting was highly productive, and I would like to thank the Federal and NSW Branch of the ADA for their commitment to ensuring rural and regional Australians have equitable access to quality oral health services into the future,” Professor Vann said.
Dr Alexander said the meeting was extremely valuable. ”There was agreement that the parties need to work closely together to ensure that we are doing all we can to meet rural and regional dental workforce needs,” she said.
“There is strong evidence that rural dentists are more likely to have come from a rural area, and trained in a rural area, which is why we have been a strong supporter of Charles Sturt University’s dental program,” Dr Lind said.
The parties also agreed that all need timely access to better, contemporary and more reliable data in order to understand future supply and demand, and there was general agreement that this was an issue the parties should pursue with the Federal Government.