Travel patterns for government emergency dental care in Australia: a new approach using GIS tools


Professor Estie Kruger
Centre for Rural and Remote Oral Health
The University of Western Australia
35 Stirling Highway
Crawley WA 6009


Background:  Government subsidized dental care is provided as a community safety-net to complement the private dental sector. The aim of this study was to detail the geographic catchment characteristics of three outer metropolitan government dental clinics.

Methods:  Three outer metropolitan dental clinics with the greatest number of geocoded triage patients were selected for the study. In total these three facilities had 5742 patients over the 12-week period with 2010 at clinic A, 1278 at clinic B and 2454 at clinic C. Cumulative proportions of patients’ residential address locations at distances were calculated; there was close correlation between the three clinics. A best fit curve with a correlation coefficient of 0.998 was developed.

Results:  In summary, approximately 50% of patients were within 6 km of the clinic and 75% were within 10 km.

Conclusions:  This study has critical outcomes for the planning of future services in developing a network model for care. The data presented will assist in the development of more evidence-based approaches to planning new service network structures.