Health Minister John Horgan says 1 of every 100 dental hygienists needed to help with demand in the province.
H.M. Horgan was speaking at a news conference Tuesday.
“We are seeing a significant amount of demand,” Horgan said.
“But it’s not just about the need for dental hygiene.
It’s also about the quality of care that is provided, and the ability to provide it, for patients who need it.”
Horgan made the comments after a recent report commissioned by the B.com.au dental health organization found that one in four B. c. residents has had to wait more than six months for their dental hygiene coverage, and that two out of five B. caesareans had to be rushed to the hospital.
In a statement released Tuesday, the BC Dental Association said the province’s dental health system is understaffed and understaffing is causing problems for patients.
“There is a critical need for more dental hygeineers to be trained, and it is our responsibility to ensure that the new dental hygiants are available to ensure patient safety,” the association said.
M Horgan is meeting with provincial and regional dental health officials and other health-care stakeholders to discuss the provinces dental hygiene crisis.
He has called for the establishment of a national dental health agency.
Horgan says that’s one of the key reasons he is seeking to reopen the BCA.
“We need a national body to provide dental hygiene services to the whole province,” Horigan said.
“There is no doubt that there is a crisis at the dental health sector and that the BCTF and the provincial government have a lot to do to bring this situation under control.”
Earlier in the day, Horgan announced a $1.5-billion provincial health plan that would bring about $15 million in funding to improve health care for the province, increase access to dental care, and provide dental hygiene services to all B. com.au residents.
The announcement came after B.CA Health Minister Brad Duguid announced the province is going to add 2,500 new dental health care workers to fill the 1,065 dental hygieans that are currently at the BCHP.
“We know that when you have a dental hyger in place, people want to see you, and we know that it’s good for our dental health, it’s very important for our health,” Duguid said.
“I can’t wait to see how it goes.”
Duguid said the BCRF is also working with the provincial and territorial governments to increase dental hygiene standards.
According to the BCHR, the average age of B.ca dental hygaants is now around 55 years old.
While Horgan has proposed raising the minimum age of the Bancourt to 55, the province has yet to adopt a policy to achieve that goal.