Holes in dental scheme

A GRAFTON dentist was left notably underwhelmed by the Labor Government's announcement on public dental care yesterday.

The Federal Labor Party axed the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme yesterday.

Despite announcing a new scheme which was described as "a landmark $4 billion package" by Health Minister Tanya Plibersek, overall funding to public dental will actually be cut back over the next year.

Under the old system, the Federal Government was spending $2.21 billion each year, whereas the new system will cost $221 million less.

"This week's announcement will be of great benefit to thousands of people in Page," Member for Page, Janelle Saffin said in a press release.

"I have long been an advocate for a Medicare-style system for dental care, as I can't understand why oral health is seen as somehow separate from the health of the rest of the body.

"From 2014, more than 11,000 eligible families will be able to claim through Medicare for their children's private dental services.

"They will be able to claim up to $1000 over a two-year period."

The new funding structure will include $225 million worth of measures to attract dentists to rural areas.

However one Grafton dentist was less than keen on the project.

"This is just a replacement for the old system, the Chronic Disease Dental Scheme (CDDS)," the dentist said.

"That system was ineffective and I think they have only stopped it to save funding."

He said had he accepted the payments offered by the government under the old scheme, he would not have been able to cover the costs of running his practice.

He said he knew of just one dentist in Grafton who had chosen to undertake the work without charging more than the amount suggested by the Federal Government. It was only done because the dentist was looking to establish himself in the area and gaining new patients.

"In all likelihood, by the time this new scheme comes into action, Labor will be out of government and none of this will happen anyway," the dentist said.



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