On World Oral Health Day in March, the Victorian Oral Health Alliance (VOHA) shone a light on oral health in residential aged care – one of the many issues highlighted in the recent Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety. VOHA called on the Australian Government to implement a Seniors Dental Benefits Scheme. It’s time to prioritise oral health and stop the neglect – this one minute video explains why.
More broadly, VOHA has serious concerns for the more than two million Victorians who are eligible for public dental care. Unfortunately, for most, eligibility doesn’t translate into access to regular, timely care. For those not in a priority group, the average wait time is around 20 months – extending more than three years for some services, especially in rural Victoria. The wait for dentures can be even longer. COVID restrictions during lockdowns have obviously made this much worse.
In a Victorian Budget submission, VOHA called for a catch-up scheme for the estimated 50,000 people who missed out on care in 2020. It also recently sent this link to all Victorian and federal MPs, and met with the Minister for Health, Martin Foley.
COTA is a member of the Victorian Oral Health Alliance (VOHA), a collaboration between all the key oral health peak bodies, several community health service dental clinics and consumer and community organisations (see voha.org.au). It advocates for a fairer public oral health system in Victoria.
If you have stories of care experiences, we would love to hear them. And if your organisation would like to join us in our work, please go to our website.
Tony McBride, Spokesperson VOHA