ACT Labor to invest $1.6 million to establish a mobile dental clinic

ACT Labor is building a stronger local health system for the future.  Right now we are investing $1.3 billion to build better hospitals and more health services in Canberra’s north and south to make our health system even stronger.

We are working hard to provide services closer to where people live so that we have better access to health care where and when it is needed.

Only ACT Labor will improve access to health care and support the most vulnerable members of our community.

That’s why we have already announced that we will build and staff two new free nurse-led Walk-in Centres in Tuggeranong and Belconnen, and double the current funding to $15 million.

Over the past couple of years ACT Labor has been making targeted investments to encourage and help GPs make home visits to older Canberrans living in nursing homes. But there is more to do.

The ageing of our community means we must be more creative and more thoughtful in how we provide health services out into the community.

Today, we take the next step.

If re-elected in 2012 ACT Labor will invest $1.6 million over four years to establish and run a mobile dental clinic to provide dental care to residential aged care facilities, special schools and pregnant and parenting students attending CC Cares*.

The establishment of a mobile clinic will extend dental care not only to the frail aged and those who are less mobile, but also provide care in a familiar, calming environment to residents living with dementia.

By giving these members of our community access to regular preventative and restorative dental care, we will reduce the need for emergency treatment.

Just as importantly, we will alleviate pain and suffering among some of the most vulnerable members of our community.

*CC Cares @The Canberra College (Weston Campus) in partnership with ACT Health and significant government and non-government community agencies, provides an education and support program for pregnant and parenting students in the ACT and surrounding districts.

Policy costings

ACT Labor’s plan to invest $1.6 million to establish a mobile dental clinic

 

 

2013 – 2014

2014 -2015

2015 – 2016

2016 – 2017

TOTAL

Capital

$0.6m

-

-

-

$0.6m

Recurrent

$0.25m

$0.25m

$0.25m

$0.25m

$1.0m

Total

$0.85m

$0.25m

$0.25m

$0.25m

$1.6m

 

ACT Labor’s investment in the oral health care of our elderly and most vulnerable will see comprehensive dental treatment offered to residents of aged care facilities, special schools and pregnant and parenting students who attend CC Cares.

The capital funding of $600,000 in 2013/14 will fund a fully mobile dental service with functional dental surgeries.

Recurrent funding of $250,000 per annum will fund 1 dental therapist and 1.5 dental assistants.

The mobile dental clinic will provide a range of services including:

  • Denture assessment, fitting, adjusting and repair;
  • General dental treatment and restorative services such as fillings and extractions;
  • Preventative services including cleaning and oral hygiene education; and
  • Oral pathology identification and referral to specialist dentists.

How will it work?

Arrangements will be made to residential aged care facilities, special schools and pregnant and parenting students attending CC Cares for the mobile clinic to visit each site with regular returns.

After an initial period to stabilise patients and deal with acute problems, the mobile clinic will focus on preventative care, as part of a regular visit program to residential aged care facilities, special schools and CC Cares.

Who will be eligible?

Pension card holders, and special school students and pregnant and parenting students who attend CC Cares.

Why do we need to invest in oral health care?

Dental diseases are among the most preventable of human diseases.  There is an increasing trend in dental disease and dental decay. About 80 percent of nursing home patients do not have regular dental care of any sort.

The ACT Dental Program currently provides some denture services to selected residential aged care facilities, however no preventive services or clinical dentistry (fillings, extractions etc) are offered.

Demand is growing, with more people waiting for dentures from the ACT Dental Health Program and an expected increase in the number of elderly denture wearers over the next ten years.

Oral carcinoma in the elderly has also been identified as one of the target areas for the National Oral Health Plan 2004-13.

Older people with mobility issues, many of whom reside in aged care facilities, often do not have access to comprehensive dental health services.  Students at special schools commonly experience mobility issues, and pregnant and parenting students who attend CC Cares may have limited access to transport.  The lack of access to care can result in the development of additional illnesses or the exacerbation of illnesses.

Reducing barriers to access, such as mobility and transport, will increase the levels of restorative services and preventative treatment provided to these groups therefore reducing the demand for emergency dental treatment.

Reducing demand for emergency care will allow additional appointments to be offered to adult clients currently on the Centralised Waiting and Recall List and will also allow resources to be freed up and transferred to the denture waiting list.

The establishment of a mobile dental health clinic will provide access to care for people who have mobility constraints as well as providing care in a familiar environment for dementia sufferers.

ACT Labor’s investment will continue to provide the best care and support to the most vulnerable members of our community.