Health support for dental practitioners is coming

Nationwide health support for dental practitioners will soon be a phone call or click away.

Scheduled for launch in July 2020, Dental Practitioner Support will be the first national 24/7 telephone and online service for all dental practitioners. The service will be dedicated to providing practitioners confidential advice and referral about their health and wellbeing.

Callers to the service will have access to an experienced team who can provide immediate support, advice and referral on a wide range of health and wellbeing related issues. The service also offers support to dental students, educators, employers and concerned family members.

Dental Board of Australia Chair, Dr Murray Thomas, said it was important that dental practitioners had access to health support wherever they are in Australia.

“Dental practitioners, whether they are based in a city or in a rural or remote location, provide safe, quality care to the public. We are funding the service to support dental practitioners in continuing to provide care to their local communities. Confidential support will be just a free phone call or click away.

“Dental Practitioner Support is founded on the principle that prevention is better than cure. We all need to continue to work hard destigmatising the need for any dental practitioner in Australia to ask for help.”

Anthony Denham, Program Director for Turning Point, which has been contracted to deliver Dental Practitioner Support, said the service would provide dental practitioners with an easily accessible and anonymous platform to seek support on a range of issues.

“These may include stress caused by work and workplace issues, family and relationship problems, alcohol and drug-related issues, or mental health concerns.”

The service will run independent of the Dental Board of Australia, so dental practitioners can have complete confidence in reaching out for confidential support.

“This service is all about providing anonymous, ‘no strings attached’ support that helps dental practitioners deal with health and wellbeing issues which may be affecting their personal lives and their work,” Mr Denham said.

The establishment of Dental Practitioner Support follows the success of a similar service for nurses and midwives that was launched in 2018 and is funded by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia.

Every effort is being made to get Dental Practitioner Support operating as soon as possible. This is in recognition of how the COVID-19 pandemic and the associated practice restrictions have affected all registered dental practitioners.

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