The Senate Select Committee on Provision on Access Dental Services, chaired by Greens Senator Jordon Steele-John, has tabled its interim report in the Senate today.
The report encompasses the findings of a comprehensive nationwide community survey conducted by the committee, marking the largest committee survey response in the parliament's history.
The interim report, including survey results, is available here: Provision of and Access to Dental Services in Australia – Parliament of Australia (aph.gov.au)
Lines attributed to Senator Jordon Steele-John, Chair of the Committee & Greens Spokesperson for Health and Mental Health:
"The Senate Select Committee on the Provision of and Access to Dental Care conducted an extensive survey to gather insights from the community regarding their dental experiences. An astounding 17,000 people actively participated, underscoring the urgency to transform oral health care in this country.
"The survey results show that 98% of the community supports the notion of expanding free dental care services.
"The resounding message from the community is that a significant proportion of individuals only seek dental treatment in emergency situations. Escalating cost of living pressures are increasingly causing people to delay dental visits.
"No one should have to choose between paying their rent, eating three meals a day, and getting the oral healthcare they need.
"The lack of dental care coverage within Medicare has far-reaching consequences for our healthcare system. Preventable dental conditions contribute to 83,000 hospitalisations annually, and a staggering 750,000 General Practitioner appointments each year are attributed to dental problems. Inclusion of dental care within Medicare has the potential to reduce hospitalisations and make more GP appointments available.
"Investing in prevention and broadening the scope of Medicare to encompass dental care has widespread support from the Australian community and advocacy and healthcare organisations. The time has come for the government to transform this vision into reality.
“The Greens have long been calling for Dental Care to be in Medicare. In 2012, The Greens secured dental for kids into Medicare. Now, we’re pushing to ensure everyone in our community can access free dental services, prioritising prevention and treating oral conditions before they turn into serious illnesses.”
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Sophie Greer | 0448 316 387