Changes in oral health services in Torres and Cape
7 April 2020
The following statement may be attributed to Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Director of Oral Health Dr Yvonne Mangan.
Routine and other non-urgent oral health appointments will be postponed as part of the Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service’s response to the current, state-wide coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Emergency oral health services will continue to be delivered.
With restrictions to access in place at many Cape York, Northern Peninsula Area and Torres Strait island communities, residents should contact their local primary healthcare centre for information about how to access dental services.
The overall changes to our oral health services are designed to help minimise health risks to both patients and oral health staff.
Common dental procedures can generate aerosols which present an increased risk of potential transmission of COVID-19 to both patients and staff.
The Australian Dental Association has recommended limiting non-urgent procedures so we can prioritise emergency treating during the current pandemic.
This is also in line with the Australian Government’s direction for health services to reschedule non-urgent elective surgery and focus on emergency and urgent surgery.
As part of this process, the health service also is moving specialist outpatient appointments to telehealth to minimise face-to-face contact and limit unnecessary travel in and out of the region.
During this time, our staff and dentists will continue to provide routine dental advice over the phone and escalate urgent care as clinically appropriate.
Where face-to-face care is provided – such as for emergencies – extra precautions such as health screening steps will be in place at dental clinics to provide additional protection for clinic staff and patients.
Over the coming weeks, oral health clients will receive information indicating if their appointment is unchanged, postponed, or converted to a phone advice appointment where it is clinically safe to do so.
We apologise for any inconvenience caused and ask for your understanding in these extraordinary times if your appointment has to be adjusted in any way.
Our oral health team is working hard to balance the needs of the emergency and routine dental care of Torres Strait, Cape York and Northern Peninsula Area whilst ensuring they can continue to provide safe and timely care to those who need it most.
Torres Strait, Cape York and Northern Peninsula Area residents are reminded to maintain their dental and general health by eating well, drinking tap water and brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.