Residents of the Tableland can now look forward to greatly improved oral health, according to North Queensland based Senator Ian Macdonald.
Senator Macdonald who joined State Health Minister Lawrence Springborg for the official opening of the new extensions to the Mareeba Rural Student Dental Clinic at the Mareeba Hospital on behalf of Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton, said that the new dental clinic, which had been tripled in size, demonstrated the determination of all levels of government to improved dental care.
“This dental clinic will train the next generation of rural and regional dentists with the added benefit that waiting times at the clinic will be dramatically reduced as more people can now be seen,” Senator Macdonald said.
The Senator said that the Mareeba dental clinic was the outcome of a productive partnership between the Commonwealth Government, James Cook University and the Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service, which provides the dental officers to supervise the students.
“The Commonwealth government contributed some $1.5 million to the overall cost of extensions of $2.6 million and, in addition, provided more than $3 million for 31,038 clinical training placement days at JCU across all sites and a further $500,000 for 12 new dental chairs for JCU training purposes”
“A key challenge in oral health is improving the access to services in regional Australia and that is why the Government’s Clinical Training Funding program focuses on building the capacity to train students in rural and regional localities,” the Senator said.
“This clinic, along with the investment at Thursday Island and Proserpine, ensures students are able to undertake a regional placement in dentistry, which supports the provision of health care right here in the regions, and provides the opportunity for students to better understand the variety of the work in a regional location. “
Senator Macdonald congratulated all those who had worked on the project and said the Government was very pleased to have been able to help bring it to reality.
“It is important that those of us who live in the North have access to services like dentistry and I am delighted to have been able to play a part in making that happen,” Senator Macdonald said.