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The Independent Voice of
Central West Queensland since 1923
Central West Queensland

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19 June, 2020

Oral health services returning to normal

ORAL HEALTH services in the Central West are returning to normal following further changes to national directions. Central West Hospital and Health Service General Manager Acute Services, Craig Carey, said some previously suspended services resumed in May, with all services resuming as normal from this month.

Central West Health Principal Dentist, Dr Michael Nguyen, and Dental Assistant, Jocelyn Jones, in one of the two treatment rooms in the new Longreach Hospital Dental Clinic.

Non-urgent services were suspended in April in line with directions from the National Cabinet for health services across Australia to reschedule non-urgent elective surgery and focus on emergency and urgent surgery during the current coronavirus pandemic.

Emergency oral health services continued to be delivered unchanged throughout the period.

Mr Carey said the resumption of full services followed medical and public health expert advice that supported the easing of restrictions on dental health services across Australia.

Full services will be available to all Central West residents who are well and who are assessed as low risk for Covid-19.

“These health screening steps will continue to remain in place at Central West dental clinics to provide extra protection for both patients and clinic staff,” Mr Carey said.

“As well as health screening, physical distancing also will continue to be in place at dental clinics to ensure protection.

“Along with full services resuming at our dental clinics at Longreach and Barcaldine, a regular schedule of visiting outreach dental clinics from our main dental hub at Barcaldine will resume to other communities in the Central West.

“In addition, we will resume our collaboration with James Cook University, and we expect to host two fifth-year dental students at Barcaldine for the second half of the year.

“The resumption of full services also will allow us to make full use of our brand-new dental clinic at Longreach Hospital.

“The new clinic, which has been doubled in size from one to two treatment chairs, was completed while the national decision to suspend non-urgent oral health and elective surgery procedures was in place.

“We only started using it last month (May) when we resumed some non-urgent services.”

Mr Carey said public oral health services in Queensland were provided free of charge to children in school clinics or at community clinics and to eligible adults in community dental clinics.

Adults who are eligible to receive free dental services from the public oral health services are required to be a holder of any of the following cards:

  • Pensioner Concession Card issued by the Department of Veteran's Affairs
  • Pensioner Concession Card issued by Centrelink
  • Health Care Card
  • Commonwealth Seniors Health Card
  • Queensland Seniors Card

For children to be eligible to receive publicly funded dental services in Queensland they must be a Queensland resident and be any of the following:

  • Between 4 years of age and completing Year 10 of secondary school;
  • Younger than 4 years of age or have completed Year 10 of secondary school and are dependants of current concession card holders or hold a current concession card themselves
  • Be under the guardianship of the Director-General, Department of Communities, Child Safety and Disability Services

Mr Carey said Central West Health was excited to be able to offer its communities a full dental service again and he encouraged eligible residents to get in touch for any oral health issues.

Anyone with questions regarding public oral health services in the Central West can call 4650 4077 for information and assistance.

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