ADAVB Chief Executive Officer's Comments
June 2019 Hide Comments
Mental health support and what the federal election means for dentistry
 
As we all know, dentistry is an extremely stressful and often isolating profession, and awareness of mental health issues is becoming more important. 
 
There is no doubt that dentists are likely to experience feelings of anxiety, depression and burnout, and this will take a toll, both personally and professionally. #CrazySocks4Docs is a campaign started in 2017 by Dr Geoff Toogood, a medical practitioner who has championed mental health support for doctors after his own battle with mental illness. This year, we will be supporting this campaign, and helping to shine a light on this issue for the dental profession. 
 
Dentists need to look out for each other, so that we can look after our patients. It is important that we are there to support our colleagues – even just checking in to make sure someone is OK. 
 
The ADAVB also provides support to members through the Lifeworks Member Assistance Program – a completely confidential and free member service run independently of the ADAVB. If you are experiencing any feelings of stress, anxiety, depression or burnout, make the call on 1300 361 008.
 
Federal election
 
Saturday 18 May certainly threw up a very unexpected result for many Australians, which just goes to show you that neither the bookmakers nor the pollsters always get it right. 
 
From the perspective of the dental profession, one of the most fascinating aspects of the election was the central role that dental health played for the Labor party, and to a lesser extent the Greens. In a series of major interviews, key Labor politicians talked about the importance of good oral health, the links between oral health and general health, and the need to help improve access to dental care for pensioners. 
 
The issue also appeared to play well in the electorate, with many callers on talkback radio supporting a plan to do more for dental health, and good media coverage of the issue in newspapers, television and radio. 
 
The ADA was active in pushing political parties to adopt its Australian Dental Health Plan, as well as calling for more sustainable funding for the public sector and ending discriminatory private health insurance rebates.
 
A pre-polling booth was set-up at the base of the ADAVB offices, and I had the opportunity to speak to a number of politicians and candidates across the political spectrum as they distributed how-to-vote cards. Many spoke of their interactions with constituents around the issue of dental health and access to care, so clearly our positive messages about the importance of dental health are starting to resonate in the community.
 
With a Coalition victory, the $2.4 billion Pensioner Dental Plan will not be implemented, and there are still concerns about the longer-term funding of the public sector through the National Partnership Agreement, which was cut in the recent budget. However, the Coalition has committed to continuing its support of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule. It remains to be seen what approach it will take to the role of private health funds in dental practice, but with the focus on oral health, there is a real opportunity for the profession to make itself heard.
 
A/Prof Matt Hopcraft
ceo@adavb.org


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Clinical A/Prof Matthew Hopcraft
BDSc MDSc BA PhD FICD
Chief Executive Officer
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