Australian government plans to terminate child dental care scheme


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The Child Dental Benefits Schedule provides financial support for basic dental services for children aged 2–17. The Australian government intends to close the scheme from 1 July 2016. (Photograph: biggunsband/Shutterstock)
Dental Tribune International

By Dental Tribune International

Tue. 10. May 2016


CANBERRA, Australia: The Australian government has recently announced its intention to end the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) from 1 July 2016 as part of the upcoming federal budget. The Australian Dental Association (ADA) has warned that over 3.4 million children in the country who would otherwise not have access to dental care now stand to lose A$1,000 worth of dental care every two years.

“The Australian Government’s plan to end the scheme effectively will remove a key programme which has been helping low-income families’ children get much needed dental care,” ADA President Dr Rick Olive, AM, commented. “The Australian Government is removing its commitment to the early investment in children’s oral health. This will lead to lifelong dental issues, which will impact on their general health, welfare and livelihood,” he added.

Through the scheme, which commenced on 1 January 2014, dentists across Australia delivered over 9.7 million dental services, including examinations, radiographs, dental cleaning, fissure sealing, fillings, root canals and extractions, to eligible Australian children in its first two years of operation. “97 per cent of these services have been at no cost to the patient,” Olive said.

The ADA stated that, according to the proposed plan, the CDBS will be replaced with the Child and Adult Public Dental Scheme, which supposedly substitutes a budget allocation of A$615 million per year to treat three million children with one of A$425 million per year to assist five million adults and children. The association further said that if the government were serious in its wishes to deliver dental care to a wider section of the population it must not only retain the CDBS, but also develop additional similar schemes that will focus on needy sectors of the community, as identified in the National Oral Health Plan signed off on by all Australian government health ministers.

The ADA has now called upon its members and the public to sign an online petition at against the plans to end the scheme. To date, it has gained over 18,261 signatures.

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