Dr Orlando Monteiro da Silva, President, FDI
Dr Philip Goh, President, Singapore Dental Association
Mr Michael Dreyer, Vice President, Asia Pacific, Koelnmesse
Ladies and gentlemen
1 It gives me great pleasure to join you here today for the Opening Ceremony of the International Dental Exhibition and Meeting (IDEM) Singapore 2012.
2 I understand that IDEM Singapore is currently the largest dental tradeshow and scientific meeting in the Asia Pacific region which has been held successfully every two years since its inception in 2000 and it continues to attract an increasing number of international visitors from more than 55 countries. This is very impressive and encouraging indeed.
3 IDEM Singapore 2010 has been awarded the prestigious “Trade Conference of the Year” by the Singapore Tourism Board. I wish to congratulate the Singapore Dental Association and Koelnmesse on this award and for once again putting together an impressive trade exhibition and a world class scientific conference this year.
4 With increasing emphasis on compulsory professional education and upgrading of skills (and updating of knowledge) of our dentists and related oral health professionals, IDEM Singapore provides a good opportunity for us to see and experience how “Science works with Industry” and keep abreast of the latest in technological advances that will continue to shape and improve our delivery and practice of Dentistry.
5 To meet the demands of a fast aging population in Singapore, the care and provision of both medical and dental treatment will become more complex and there will be a greater need for our dental professionals to update and upgrade themselves on the management of our elderly.
6 The Ministry of Health will also continue to ensure that dental healthcare remains affordable for all Singaporeans. The Community Health Assist Scheme (CHAS) is one such means by which the Ministry hopes to achieve this. CHAS aims to provide Singaporeans aged 40 and above better access to primary healthcare by bringing affordable services closer to them.
7 Under this scheme, private general dental practitioners are engaged to provide common outpatient dental treatment, and eligible patients will receive a subsidy that will bring the net charges closer to what is charged at government polyclinics. The list of dental treatment covered by the scheme has also been expanded to include more simple tertiary dental procedures, such as crowns, bridges, dentures and root canal treatment. Those with per capita household income of $1,500 – or about half of households – will qualify.
8 We will continue to ensure that Singaporeans from all walks of life, especially the needy and the elderly will not be denied access to good dental healthcare.
9 The Ministry of Health has also published on its website the average bill sizes for some common dental procedures and waiting times in the public hospitals and institutions. The private dental clinics have also been invited to publish their range of charges on the MOH website and I am happy to note that many have responded favourably and this information has already been uploaded on our website. This will certainly help to promote greater transparency of dental charges across the profession and I would like to encourage more private clinics and groups to participate in this.
10 On the issue of ensuring transparency and appropriate dental treatment to members of the public, I would like to encourage the Singapore Dental Association to take up the challenge of producing a "green-book‟ type directory of information and services. This could include dental health information, pre and post treatment photographs and possibly "step-by-step‟ explanation of some of the common dental treatment procedures.
11 We hope that the public and profession will be able to refer to this ("greenbook‟) directory for detailed and unbiased information on the various types of dental treatment procedures and possibly range of charges, outcomes and even risks. This sharing of information can potentially reduce misunderstandings that may arise from differing expectations and results. It will benefit both our patients and the profession.
12 Singapore is a very privileged country but pockets of disadvantaged and needy Singaporeans still exist in our society and the Ministry is constantly looking at ways to ensure that dental healthcare remains accessible and affordable to all Singaporeans.
13 On this note, I would like to applaud the dental profession and related professional societies for providing "free‟ dental consultations and treatment to the various welfare homes across the island. I encourage you to continue your good work.
14 I am happy to learn that although IDEM Singapore has been organized for the dental professionals and the industry, the public will not be left out as the Singapore Dental Association and Singapore Dental Health Foundation will be co-organizing a Public Forum titled “Teeth for Life” which will address common dental problems and oral healthcare issues. We hope that this will improve the oral health awareness of Singaporeans and encourage more to source and seek regular dental check-ups with dedicated "family" dentists.
15 In closing, I am confident that IDEM Singapore 2012 will be an excellent opportunity for dentists from the various countries not only to interact and learn from each other but to preview the new innovations and technologies that can improve dental practices and make them more predictable and safer.
16 I wish all of you a successful meeting and that IDEM Singapore 2012 will be another fruitful and enriching experience for all.
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