New Dental Surgery Options at PDH

Tuesday, 22 October 2013
People on health care cards needing dental surgery can now have their procedures performed at Portland District Health as public patients.

The hospital is the first in the region to offer the service, saving eligible people substantial costs, long trips to Melbourne and an often lengthy wait for surgery.

Dr Jeffrey Field, who recently started a private practice in Portland, will perform the surgical procedures at PDH. He is the only resident dentist with formal oral surgical training in the south-west region.

The hospital will be used for procedures requiring general anaesthesia, such as removal of wisdom teeth.

PDH Director of Nursing Frank Megens said the new service would be of great benefit for eligible people not only in the Portland region but across the south-west.

“Previously if you needed this level of dental surgical work you had to pay out of your own pocket or drive out of region,” Mr Megens said.

While the new system will help many district people needing day-stay surgical procedures, it will also increase the working capacity of the hospital’s operating facilities. It will be funded as part of the hospital’s Weighted Inlier Equivalent Separation (WIES) allocation.

Mr Megens said the new service would not impact on the hospital’s existing dental practice or public dental payments.

Dr Field recently took over the dental practice of Dr Michael Stubbs and will continue to operate it as a general practice, including sedation services.

The Canadian-born dentist has been doing locum work since moving permanently to Australia in 2012 but has Australian links dating back to 2005 in teaching dental anaesthesia in Sydney.

He was previously based in Qatar for 12 years and is a certified anesthesiologist with the National Dental Board of Anesthesia.

“I’d like to thank the hospital for this opportunity which will help a whole raft of people who require surgery but otherwise might not be able to afford it,” Dr Field said.

There is strong demand for the surgery service with all places booked for September and heavy bookings already made for the next two months.

Dr Field is enjoying his new home base. “I like Portland and I like the practice. I didn’t want to work in a large city and to have a practice a block from the ocean is terrific,” he said.

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