How does the dental benefits act encourage Australian families to seek and utilise oral health services?

Peivand Bastani, Reyhane Izadi, Nithin Manchery, Diep Ha, Hanny Calache, Ajesh George, Loc Do

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Background This study aimed to analyse the content of the Dental Benefits Act 2008 as a foundation for the Child Dental Benefits Schedule (CDBS) to determine how the Act encourages Australian families to seek and utilise oral health services. Methods This was a qualitative narrative document analysis conducted in 2022. Data was collected by searching formal websites for retrieving documents that reported the Australian Dental Benefits Act. The eligibility of the retrieved documents was assessed based on authenticity, credibility, representativeness, and meaningfulness of the data. A seven-steps procedure was applied for framework analysis. Results The content of the Dental Benefits Act 2008 provides directions on the three categories of operational, collective, and constitutional rules. Operational rules at the level of oral health providers and the population, as the service end users, can be demonstrated as rules in use in a mutual interaction with the collective and constitutional rules. The consequence of governing the rules at the community level can easily define how the oral health services are provided and utilised. The response is sent to the government level for better regulation of oral health service delivery and utilisation. Then, with interaction and advocacy with the diverse range of stakeholders and interdisciplinary partnerships, with community groups, non-government sectors and councils, the rules can be transformed, adopted, monitored, and enforced. Another mechanism of response has occurred at the providers’ and users’ level and to the operational rules to community groups and stakeholders via advertising and promoting the utilisation and provision of oral health services. Conclusion This study integrates the perspective of politicians with those of policy makers to reconsider the role and significance of the rules based on the triple collaborations among oral health users and oral service providers, the community, and the stakeholders as well as the government. A comprehensive attention is still needed in future revisions of the Dental Benefits Act 2008 according to the contextual factors, socioeconomic and geographical attributes of the population for better implementation of de facto rules and more effective outcomes of the interventions. It is recommended that further research be undertaken utilising a mix-method approach for a holistic view prior to further revisions of the Act or proposal of probable upcoming schemes.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0277152
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalPLoS One
Issue number11
Early online date28 Nov 2022
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes


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