VOHA Recent Activities – April update

VOHA has been busy over the last few months having met with the Minister for Health Martin Foley MLA and other elected representatives.

VOHA talks with Victorian Minister

On the 25 March, VOHA met with the Minister for Health, Martin Foley, to share the latest information on the impact of the pandemic on oral health services, and especially the waiting times for future care. We reiterated the main points of VOHA’s Budget Submission, namely the need for a catch-up program and then regular significant increases in funding and a greater focus on prevention.

From L to R Top: Professor Julie Satur Melbourne Dental School, The hon. Martin Foley Minister for Health, andTony McBride VOHA Spokesperson
From L to R Bottom: Julia McLellan Practice Manager oral health cohealth, and Kathleen Mitakakis Senior Project Officer Health Issues Centre

The Minister specifically asked us about the potential impact of any withdrawal of the National Partnership Agreement funding by the Commonwealth. In the following week, VOHA sought the views of a range of dental managers and provided the Minister with a range of frontline quotes about the current situation and the impact of a reduction in funding on consumers which can be found HERE.
The Minister has agreed to future meetings with VOHA.

VOHA meetings with MPs and DHSV

During February and March, VOHA also met with four Victorian MPs.

Two MPs were Chairs of Consultative Committees for proposed Community Hospitals. We talked about the need for oral health services to be part of the planned provision.

VOHA also emphasised that it saw local community dental services as the most appropriate and efficient managers of such oral health provision, given they were in most cases running clinics relatively close by and there were benefits for both consumers and services in running a combined service.

We had a productive meeting with Josh Bull MLA (Chair of the Consultative Committee for the Sunbury Community Hospital – probably the first to open). The Sunbury proposal is the only one of the ten proposed Community Hospitals that does not currently include dental chairs, and we advocated that it should be. Given the future population growth in the area, Josh expressed his desire to ensure adequate health infrastructure like this was developed in the area, and he subsequently wrote to the Minister for Health about this.

VOHA also met with Pauline Richards MLA who holds the corresponding position for Cranbourne Community Hospital and had a valuable exchange of information.

A VOHA delegation also had useful meetings with :

  • Louise Staley MLA, whose Ripon electorate covers Maryborough (the clinic with the longest waits in Victoria in June 2020) and East Grampians (waiting time about 24 months)
  • Tim Read MLA (Brunswick) who is the Health Spokesperson for the Greens, whose policies are very supportive of equitable access to dental care.

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