DEN­TAL VAN VIS­ITS MONTO

Pri­vate oral health ser­vice avail­able un­til Nov 19

Central and North Burnett Times - - FRONT PAGE - Jack Lawrie Jack.Lawrie@cnbtimes.com.au

QCOAL Com­mu­nity Den­tal Ser­vice be­gan its two-week stay in Monto this week, of­fer­ing pri­vate oral health­care to com­ple­ment the town’s once-a-month pub­lic ser­vice visit.

The ser­vice is op­er­ated by the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice and pro­vides den­tal care and treat­ment in com­mu­ni­ties where there is lim­ited ac­cess to oral health­care.

RFDS state ser­vices man­ager Frank Garcia said the van dealt with acute oral health is­sues, with­out the wait­ing list of pub­lic ser­vices.

How­ever, he stressed the ser­vices are not in any way “bet­ter” than those ar­ranged byWide Bay Health Ser­vice, just that they cater to dif­fer­ent needs.

The trailer is staffed by two RFDS den­tists and three den­tal as­sis­tants, and pro­vides check-ups, ex­trac­tions and x-rays, us­ing a full OPG ma­chine. Ev­ery year, an an­nual sched­ule is de­ter­mined based on the pre­vi­ous year’s wait­ing lists.

QCoal Group manag­ing direc­tor Christo­pherWallin said the ser­vice aimed to bring qual­ity oral health care to peo­ple in ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

“QCoal Foun­da­tion was es­tab­lished to en­rich ru­ral and re­mote com­mu­ni­ties, and I know from talk­ing to our own em­ploy­ees and their fam­i­lies that a lack of ac­cess to den­tal care is a ma­jor con­cern for them,” Mr Wallin said.

“Thanks to this ser­vice, they can now get the care they need on their doorstep, with no out-of-pocket cost.”

The ser­vice is funded by QCoal, who be­came in­volved due to grow­ing con­cerns from its pre­dom­i­nately ru­ral-based staff over the dif­fi­culty of ac­cess­ing health ser­vices.

The fund­ing in turn comes through cor­po­rate part­ner­ships and through do­na­tions made to the Royal Fly­ing Doc­tor Ser­vice.

Mr Garcia said it was dif­fi­cult to sup­port full-time den­tists in re­mote com­mu­ni­ties.

“This ser­vice was im­ple­mented to help over­come that dif­fi­culty,” Mr Garcia said.

“As it is, oral health is the sec­ond most ex­pen­sive dis­ease group in Aus­tralia and there’s a re­cur­rent ex­pen­di­ture on those ser­vices of more than $8.7 bil­lion.”

The com­mu­nity den­tal ser­vice vis­its roughly 16 lo­ca­tions per year, ser­vic­ing 2000 pa­tients per an­num.

The trailer is cur­rently parked out­side Monto Hos­pi­tal, where it will be un­til Novem­ber 19.

We’re not in the in­ter­est of com­pet­ing with the pub­lic health ser­vice; we like to see it as com­pli­men­tary — Frank Garcia

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PRO­VID­ING SER­VICE: Den­tists from RFDS at­work on a pa­tient in surgery 2.

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