PROVIDING SERVICE: Dentists from RFDS at work on a patient in surgery 2.
PROVIDING SERVICE: Dentists from RFDS at work on a patient in surgery 2. Contributed

Dental van in Monto

QCOAL Community Dental Service began its two-week stay in Monto this week, offering private oral healthcare to compliment the town's once-a-month public service visit.

The service is operated by the Royal Flying Doctor Service and provides dental care and treatment in communities where there is limited access to oral healthcare.

RFDS state services manager Frank Garcia said the van deals with acute oral health issues, without the waiting list of public services.

However, he stressed the services are not in any way "better” than those arranged by Wide Bay Health Service, just that they cater to different needs.

The trailer is staffed by two RFDS dentists and three dental assistants, and provides check-ups, extractions and x-rays, using a full OPG machine. Every year, an annual schedule is determined based on the previous year's waiting lists.

QCoal Group managing director Christopher Wallin said the service aimed to bring quality oral health care to people in rural and remote communities.

"QCoal Foundation was established to enrich rural and remote communities, and I know from talking to our own employees and their families that a lack of access to dental care is a major concern for them,” Mr Wallin said.

"Thanks to this service, they can now get the care they need on their doorstep, with no out-of-pocket cost.”

The service is funded by QCoal, who became involved due to growing concerns from its predominately rural-based staff over the difficulty of accessing health services.

The funding in turn comes through corporate partnerships and through donations made to the Royal Flying Doctor Service.

Mr Garcia said it was difficult to support full-time dentists in remote communities.

"This service was implemented to help overcome that difficulty,” Mr Garcia said.

"As it is, oral health is the second most expensive disease group in Australia and there's a recurrent expenditure on those services of more than $8.7 billion.”

The community dental service visits roughly 16 locations per year, servicing 2000 patients per annum.

The trailer is currently parked outside Monto Hospital, where it will be until November 19.


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