Charles Sturt University’s (CSU) plan to open a Albury Dental Education Clinic as part of its bid for $54.4 million in Commonwealth funding to establish a School of Dentistry and Oral Health in inland NSW has won the support of Albury dentists.
Albury dentist Dr Peter Harper congratulated CSU for harnessing the impetus to establish a dental school. “It will be a win-win situation for inland Australia: country students would have greater access to entry to a dental course nearer to home than currently provided by the metropolitan dental schools, with a greater chance of retaining the graduates in the country. The introduction of the course to the Riverina and northern Victoria would also be very timely with so many of private practising dentists now fast approaching retirement.”
“The dental clinic to be set up in Albury would also benefit the Border community by providing another avenue for the provision of public dental services. The new graduates would give the current public clinics considerable boost in the years ahead by staffing many of the unfilled positions at the clinics in Albury and Wodonga, as well as those in the surrounding communities of Wangaratta, Shepparton, Echuca, Swan Hill and Deniliquin.”
Another Albury dentist Jim Poyner also pointed to the possibility of attracting and retaining metropolitan students to major regional centres such as Albury-Wodonga.
“Albury dentists would welcome a university affiliated clinic, where dental students are exposed to rural dental practice and lifestyle in a major regional city. The possibility of graduates wanting to work in regional Australia would be a relief for ageing dentists wanting to ease their workloads or retire.”
Dr Poyner also saw advantages for public dental services in regional Australia.
“Any increase in the provision of public dental services, which is presently grossly under-resourced, would be a huge benefit to the community and would certainly contribute to improved oral health, especially among underprivileged people.”