FULL dental services have been restored at Timboon and District Healthcare Service (TDHS) after an agreement was reached with the Barlow Dental Group.
Acting chief executive officer Rebecca van Wollingen said she was “delighted” with the new partnership and urged community members to help the service grow.
A memorandum of understanding will see Barlow Dental Group services start at TDHS on Wednesday, August 7 and continue every Wednesday indefinitely.
However, Dr Dominic Barlow said he had also agreed to periodic Saturdays and he hoped demand would lead to an additional day at TDHS in the near future.
“Our memorandum of understanding is flexible to meet the needs of our community. We know there is demand for at least one day a week and depending on how well we are received we think there’s probably two days here – but demand will dictate that,” he said.
“We are a private service, but it’s a partnership with TDHS. Our collective objective is to make sure that Timboon and district people can receive dental services here in their own community – particularly older people.
“We’re looking forward to becoming part of the local community and we’ll be reaching out to sporting clubs and offering to come and take impressions at training for mouthguards and other initiatives like that to connect with the community.
“I think it’s important that people know that we set up in Warrnambool only three years ago, that we’re not going anywhere and that we’re just as excited as TDHS about this.”
Dr Barlow said the dental clinic room at TDHS would be modernised, some equipment would be upgraded and a full suite of dental services would become available.
“Because we only set up a few years ago, all our equipment in Warrnambool is ultra-modern and we’ve been able to see how clients value that technology. So, it’s incumbent on us to use the most modern equipment we can here in Timboon as well,” he said.
“We’ll be introducing digital radiography and imaging here. These diagnostic tools allow us to have important conversations about people’s dental health so that we can talk about their options and they can make informed decisions.
“It’s important also that the local community can utilise the Commonwealth Child Dental Benefit Schedule which provides up to $1000 of diagnostic and dental treatments for the majority of children aged 2-17.”
Dr Barlow said he would personally work in Timboon to consolidate on their new partnership for an initial period before Dr Caitlyn Huang took over most of the Timboon days.
Ms van Wollingen said she met Dr Barlow about four months ago, discussions had been ongoing for a while and she was excited the partnership had come together.
“Dom is very community-minded and really wants to work with us to improve services – I think he’s perfect for us,” she said.
“The community gave us a strong message during last year’s survey that it was a huge priority to have local dental services.
“This announcement aligns well with our strategic plan to engage with the community and provide community-based services. It’s a wonderful outcome and I’m confident community members will support the service strongly and help the partnership grow.”