Older Australians’ perspective on the provision and access of dental services

COTA Australia, in May 2023, provided a submission to the Select Committee’s inquiry into the Provision and Access of Dental Services in Australia. Our submission focuses on sharing the views and experiences of people aged 50 years and above with dental services in Australia.

The submission highlights that, although oral health is a priority health area concern for this age cohort, many often do not receive the care necessary to maintain good oral health. From our engagements with older people, we know affordability and timely access to dental and related services present as major challenges. Plus, these challenges are most keenly experienced by older people without (or insufficient coverage) of private health insurance and/or living outside metropolitan areas.

Aligned to our strongly held advocacy position, COTA Australia contends the Australian Government, in collaboration with the state and territory governments, should develop and implement a Senior Dental Benefits Scheme. We advocate the Scheme’s services need to be provided through the public and private dental sectors. Plus, throughout its development phase, the Scheme targets people aged 50 years and over who are:

  • on low incomes
  • living in a residential aged care home
  • receiving a home care package
  • admitted to an acute hospital (to cover the potential for transitions between care settings)

We see the establishment of a Senior Dental Benefits Scheme as a major step forward to universal access to dental services within and across Australia. Click here to read our submission.

In June 2023, the Select Committee presented the Senate with its interim report; a final report is to be submitted by 28 November 2023. Click the following link to read the Select Committee’s Interim Report.