Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Australians Shun Federal National Health Dentistry

The Howard government in Australia has NO plans to federalize public dentistry in Australia. This article from The Australian reports the reluctance of the government to embark on a federal socialized plan for public health dentistry.

An exerpt:

The commonwealth had no plans to take over responsibility for public dentistry services from state governments despite long waiting lists, Federal Health Minister Tony Abbott said today.

Public dental patients in NSW are reportedly waiting up to eight years for attention while the number of children needing hospital treatment has doubled over the past decade.

Dental health statistics had worsened since the federal government withdrew funding after the 1996 election, but Mr Abbott said it was up to the states to address any problems now.

Mr Abbott told the John Laws radio program that any shift to take control of public dentistry would require a change of heart from cabinet.

"The federal government has no plans to do that ... I wouldn't encourage you to think it's likely to happen," he said.

Mr Abbott said the commonwealth would continue to support dentistry through private health insurance and as an allied health professional under Medicare Extended Care plans.

"But I don't have any plans to take over the state government's public dentistry services – I don't have any plans at this stage to do that," he said.

He said a caller who indicated her 13-year-old son desperately needed braces to avoid jaw surgery but would have to wait for up to six years on the public system waiting list couldn't be helped under any current federal government program.

The caller, who only identified herself as Sharon, said her family simply could not afford the $4,400 required to get the job done privately.

"A new program would have to be created," Mr Abbott said.

"But if we were to create a new program to take away from the states the responsibilities that they are currently failing to discharge, we would be licensing – so to speak – the continued irresponsibility of the states.

"The judgment call we've always made up until now – this government – is that public dental services should be provided by the states and if there's a problem with them, the states ought to lift their game."

Good for you Australia.

You have a good strong, equitable private free enterprise dental delivery system. Don't trade it for the problems of the National Health Service in the U.K.

No comments:

Post a Comment