Concern is growing about the NSW government’s decision to leave a gap of $340 million in funding for dental treatment for public patients.
The news leaves many in the public system without a clear indication of their future accessibility to dental care, leaving many to consider the benefits of private health cover.
Around $370 million worth of funding had previously been provided by the Commonwealth through the Medicare Chronic Disease Dental Scheme.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald (SMH), the state government will now only pledge $30.4 million to replace it.
Hans Zoellner, head of oral pathology at the University of Sydney told the SMH: “To pretend people are going to be adequately served by the public system, which is already failing, is farcical.”
“There are people walking around in Australia with great festering abscesses in their heads they can’t afford to treat,” he says.
The NSW government’s new Taskforce on Dental Health has announced that it will conduct a review of the current budget allocation for dental programs and will focus on improving care in regional areas.
People living in rural NSW currently have generally poorer levels of dental health when compared to residents in metropolitan areas.