Background: A shortage of dental practitioners in Australia is predicted for the future, and the greatest effect of this will be felt in rural and remote areas. Strategies are needed to increase the recruitment and retention of dental practitioners in these areas. Part of this process is to assess the demographics of the oral health workforce.Methods: A postal questionnaire survey was undertaken in 2002, that involved all registered dentists, therapists and hygienists in rural and remote Western Australia.Results: Rural dentists are predominantly male, early middle aged, married, UWA trained, Australian born with one to two children. Rural dental therapists are predominantly female, in their mid-thirties, married, Australian born, trained in Western Australia, with two children. Male dentists worked slightly more hours per week than female dentists. The majority of the workforce does have access to email and the internet. Taking leave is a problem for most dentists because of difficulties in finding locums.Conclusions: The rural dental workforce capacity and demographic distribution need monitoring and analysis. This will determine the dental workforce's future ability to deliver the necessary services in rural and remote regions, where currently there is a dental workforce shortage.
|Journal||Australian Dental Journal|
|Publication status||Published - 2004|