Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dental health crisis in Australia

Why is it that in Australia you can get immediate free treatment for any part of the body except the teeth? It's as though the teeth were not part of the human body. John Howard's neo-con government has cut back dental services so drastically that people (like me) have suffered under his regime.

"Half a million low-income earners in Australia are waiting for public dental care and the waiting list will keep growing if the Federal Government does not step in, a new report has found.

"The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) report investigated the state of dental care in Australia and has claimed it is full of problems.

"It has found 40 per cent of Australians cannot access dental care when they need it, the average waiting time for public dental services is 27 months and about 500,000 people are on that waiting list.

"By 2010, the report has said, there will be a shortage of 1500 dental staff, which is equivalent to 3.8 million dental visits.

And the report has confirmed the cost of basic dental care has risen dramatically, up 45 per cent since 1999.

"'It is unfair that in good economic times, many low income Australians can not afford to get their teeth fixed,' ACOSS director Andrew Johnson has said.

"'High costs for private dental care and long waiting lists for public dental care is leading people to put off dental treatment and instead they suffer in pain.'

"Mr Johnson has said the Government should step in and help fix the problems.

"'With a large federal Budget surplus, now is the time for more resources to be put into implementing this plan so people can fix their teeth when they need it,' he has said."

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