The State Government has announced a new partnership agreement with the University of Adelaide to secure an integrated public dental service and dental school for the next 30 years.
The agreement was reached following an extensive proposal process, which was made available to all higher education providers in June 2014 and resulted in two high quality submissions.
Health Minister Jack Snelling said the historic partnership would deliver improved public dental services for the community and better facilities for students and staff.
“This agreement will see the construction of a new 90-chair dental clinic within the University of Adelaide’s new clinical building situated at the SA Health and Biomedical Precinct,” Mr Snelling said.
“The new clinic, expected to open in July 2017, will sit alongside the new Royal Adelaide Hospital and SAHMRI, and will ensure dental services are an integral part of this emerging health hub.
“The clinic will provide state-of-the-art dental facilities where students can complete their training alongside skilled dental experts, and the public can access high quality dental care.
“The new deal also ensures we’re using public dental care resources in the most effective way and providing a sustainable dental workforce for South Australia into the future.”
The University of Adelaide Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Warren Bebbington said the deal would reinforce the university’s position as a national leader in dental education and research.
“I am pleased that the very long-standing partnership in dentistry between the University of Adelaide and SA Health will now be renewed securely for a further 30 years,” Professor Bebbington said.
“Clearly the State Government values our School of Dentistry, one of the two highest-ranked in Australia, and recognises the unique role that the University of Adelaide plays in providing public dental care.
“The school will also modify its current clinical practice model to provide an enhanced year-round service to public patients,” he said.
Mr Snelling said under this agreement, dental student clinical placements will run for 48 weeks of the year.
“Increasing the number of weeks that students train within our service means that eligible patients will be able to access public dental treatment throughout the year,” Mr Snelling said.
“Both of the submissions we received, from the University of Adelaide and the University of South Australia, were of an extremely high standard.
“However, the University of Adelaide is one of the leading dental schools in the country and I’m delighted they will continue to train South Australian dentists in partnership with SA Dental Service.”
The agreement includes the provision of two new dental scholarships to encourage students to train in rural areas and consider future employment opportunities in country locations.
There is also an option to increase capacity by making the dental chairs available either after hours or on weekends in the future.