HSU Highlights Crisis in Access to Affordable Dental Care for Older Australians10 August 2007
The Health Services Union (HSU) recently made a submission to the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into the Cost of Living Pressures for Older Australians regarding the access and affordability crisis in dental care.
HSU National Secretary, Craig Thomson, said "Members of the HSU working in dental care are faced with a crisis in access and affordability for older Australians."
"Older Australians deserve more. Dental health is an important part of general health and has been neglected by the Federal Government for too long" Mr Thomson said.
The submission reports of the difficulties that many older people may face in accessing public dental care with an estimated 650,000 people on waiting lists. This may lead people to forgo or to pay out of pocket for dental care.
Not receiving treatment can have adverse health outcomes with potentially significant impacts on the daily life, health and wellbeing of an older person.
Paying out of pocket for dental care can be a significant cost burden and increasingly so with the cost of dental care rising compared to general goods.
The Health Services Union made a recommendation within the submission that Medicare should be expanded to dental services for those over 65 years old.
The HSU also supports the expansion of Medicare to cover dental services for those under 18 and of all ages on a pension or with a health care card.
The Submissions to the Senate Inquiry can be accessed here. The HSU submission is Number 63.
Health Services Union