Graphic: Flying Doctor Chief visits Hobart to talk about dental health
Mr Martin Laverty, CEO, Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) of Australia is visiting Hobart on Tuesday 15 and Wednesday 16 November to meet with stakeholders to discuss the expansion of RFDS dental outreach services in Tasmania.
In the 2016 Federal election campaign, Senator Nash on behalf of the Commonwealth Government, committed $11 million over two years from January 2017 for the RFDS to continue providing its current suite of dental services nationwide and to expand service provision to enable access for more remote and rural Australians in under-served areas including Tasmania.
Mr Laverty said, "Providing $11 million over the next two years for Flying Doctor dental outreach will allow expansion of our existing dental services across Australia. In Tasmania, it means we can start a brand new service where previously we've simply not had funds available."
Dental conditions are the leading cause of potentially preventable hospitalisations in Tasmania. Across public and private hospitals, rates of hospitalisation for oral health conditions have remained relatively stable over time. Diseases of the oral cavity, salivary glands and jaw are more commonly associated with hospital admissions in young people and are more common in women compared with men.
In comparison to other Australian states, 52% of Tasmanian children aged 5 – 6 years of age and 53.4% of 12-year-olds have some experience of dental decay, (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2011).
The Dental Outreach Program being established in Tasmania is designed to focus on those remote and rural communities that are currently unable to access existing services. It will be provided within a flexible service structure and delivered in rural, remote and to communities of disadvantage across the state.
The Tasmanian program is based on building on the local experience and adopting the RFDS Victorian model to fit our local need. The program will also maximise opportunities with other RFDS programs; in particular, the Foodbank School Breakfast Program recently launched by Her Excellency, the Governor of Tasmania. Partnerships are currently being developed with other health providers and Local Government agencies in the North and North East.
The dental model under development will involve preventative screening and in due course offer restorative treatments.
Martin Laverty is available for interview on Wednesday 16 November at the Royal Yacht Club of Tasmania, Marieville Esplanade, at either 9.30 am or 11.30 am.