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Developing primary health clinical teams for public oral health services in Tasmania


Cane, RJ and Butler, DR, Developing primary health clinical teams for public oral health services in Tasmania, Australian Dental Journal, 49, (4) pp. 162-170. ISSN 0045-0421 (2004) [Refereed Article]

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1834-7819.2004.tb00068.x


This paper reviews the problem of socio-economic health inequalities and highlights the relevance of these issues for the delivery of public oral health services in the Australian island State of Tasmania. It contends that unless there is reform of existing public oral health systems, inequities in oral health care linked to socio-economic factors and geographic location will remain. The challenge is, firstly, to understand the current situation and why it has occurred. Secondly, we need to ensure that this understanding is shared across educational and professional sectors for the development of innovative approaches to the problem. Thirdly, we must carry out preliminary research and evaluation for any reforms. Using a combination of approaches, i.e., primary health care, a 'common risk' approach and increasing workforce numbers has been identified as a method showing the most potential to improve access to equitable oral health care. An outline of a current research project evaluating the impact of the integration of primary oral health care clinical teams into public oral health services is provided. The clinical teams combine the skills of the dentist and an expanded role for dual trained dental therapists/dental hygienists. The teams focus on the development of innovative clinical practice in the management and prevention of common oral diseases that take into account the broader determinants of oral health inequality. This project will be conducted in Tasmania, where the dominance of small rural and remote communities, adverse socio-economic factors and shortage of oral health professionals are key issues to consider in planning public oral health services and programmes. The results of the evaluation of the Tasmanian pilot model will contribute to the evidence base that will support the introduction of new approaches to public oral health care.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Health services and systems not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Public health (excl. specific population health)
Objective Field:Dental health
UTAS Author:Cane, RJ (Dr Rosemary Cane)
ID Code:32364
Year Published:2004
Web of Science® Times Cited:7
Deposited By:UTAS Centre for Rural Health
Deposited On:2004-08-01
Last Modified:2005-05-27

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