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Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Benalla patients have a reason to smile

The number of Benalla patients receiving public dental health services is increasing thanks to government support.

MONIQUE FREER April 16, 2014 3:25am

The number of patients in Benalla and Wangaratta receiving public dental health services has increased by more than 1000 in one year thanks to government support.

Northeast Health Wangaratta operates a four-chair clinic in Wangaratta and a permanent outreach service at Benalla Community Health that is expanding due to the National Partnership Agreement.

Northeast Health Wangaratta community health and partnership executive manager Paul Crimmin said the facility was constantly improving its service to the community.

‘‘We are able to provide care both in Benalla and or Wangaratta and that’s an advantage for emergency treatment if required,’’ Mr Crimmin said.

He said oral health care in rural Victoria was on the agenda for all health professionals, particularly under the National Partnership Agreement.

Signed from February 2013 to March 2015, under the agreement the Commonwealth provides $344million to state and territory governments to assist them in delivering services to up to 400000 adults on public dental waiting lists.

In November 2013 the Victorian Government increased funding allocated to public dental services to $2.5million at Northeast Health Wangaratta, including one-off funding of $338500.

The service has also established a monthly superclinic trial, which aims to boost the number of patients accessing dental services.

‘‘It’s an innovation to try and screen more patients, to identify the patients that could have in-house treatment and those who’d benefit from seeing a private provider,’’ Mr Crimmin said.

‘‘These patients are then provided with an in-house appointment, or given a voucher to access a private clinic when Northeast Health Wangaratta cannot provide an individual with timely general care.

‘‘We’re able to screen up to 180 patients in a day and those patients would otherwise remain on the waiting list.’’

For full story see this week’s Ensign.

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