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This report summarises key findings of detailed technical reports from the above surveys in one accessible document.
Research regarding variation in dental health within the adult community has highlighted manifest social inequalities in dental health status and access to basic dental care in the Australian adult population. The formative document on adult dental health, A research database on dental care in Australia (AIHW Dental Statistics and Research Unit, 1993), identified three principal themes of interest, including the need to convert care provided to health care card holders from:
Accordingly, the Commonwealth Dental Health Program (CDHP) aims to reduce geographic and financial barriers that are at present preventing adult card holders and their dependants receiving timely and appropriate dental care.
The AIHW Dental Statistics and Research Unit (DSRU) is evaluating the Program to assess its effectiveness in altering the profile of health and access to care of the eligible card holder population relative to the broader community.
A hierarchy of surveys was designed to collect information: from the whole community via a national telephone survey (including a survey of satisfaction with care received); from eligible persons who actually received care; and about services provided to recipients during their courses of care.
Annual repeats of these surveys will track the oral health, access to care, and satisfaction with care of recipients of care under the C!JHP relative to the broader community.
This report summarises key findings of detailed technical reports from the above surveys in one accessible document. The tables and figures have been selected with specific regard to the terms of reference for the evaluation of the CDHP. Following are the key findings of the surveys presented with the relevant terms of reference.
Access and availability
Use of services
Appropriateness of care
Together these findings indicate that the population eligible for public dental care is at a clear disadvantage in terms of access to care and the treatment received, and in oral health as a consequence. Moreover; the variations.in satisfaction between public and private patients and between insured and non-insured public patients highlights several of the perceived difficulties in obtaining timely and appropriate care within the public sector. These findings provide a clear basis for assessing the progress of the CDHP towards its objectives.
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