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Understanding the role of the public transport network in the greater Sydney area in providing access to dental care.

A new interesting article has been published in Aust Health Rev. 2018 Oct 11. doi: 10.1071/AH18046. and titled:

Understanding the role of the public transport network in the greater Sydney area in providing access to dental care.

Authors of this article are:

Patel R, Tennant M, Kruger E.

A summary of the article is shown below:

Objective The aim of this study was to examine the spatial accessibility of the aged and older adult population of the greater Sydney region to the bus public transport network, and the proximity of this transportation route to public and private dental services.Methods This study used geographic information systems (GIS) to examine, at a population level, the spatial accessibility of the public transport network and dental provider locations. The prime focus of the present study was on the aging population residing within 50 km of the General Post Office of metropolitan Sydney. Retirees (aged ≥65 years) and older adults (aged ≥85 years) were the two subsets of the aging population.Results Sydney’s bus network is currently supplying bus transport to both older and disadvantaged groups, facilitating the needs of more than half a million older people. Regardless of socioeconomic status, 12% of the entire population, 11.5% of retirees and 10.8% of older adults resided 500 m away from accessible medium-frequency bus stops. Approximately 40% of the overall population consisted of people of lower socioeconomic status living within 500 m of a medium-frequency bus stop, whereas 60% of the population were of a high socioeconomic status and lived within 500 m of a medium-frequency bus stop.Conclusion Metropolitan Sydney has a transport system that is substantial and robust, and appears to offer relatively similar spatial accessibility for all socioeconomic groups. This system is an example of great urban planning, where the distribution of bus stops is evenly positioned in both high-density areas and areas of low socioeconomic status.What is known about the topic? Older adults and disadvantaged people suffer from higher levels of dental disease compared with the rest of the population. Older adults and disadvantaged people are more likely to rely on public transport to access healthcare services, including dental care. The Australian population is aging rapidly.What does this paper add? Although a previous study examined the accessibility to services via the train network, this is the first analysis of the spatial accessibility to dental services via the bus network in Sydney. Most older adults and disadvantaged people in Sydney enjoy acceptable spatial access to the public transport network, and thereby to dental practices. Urban planning, in terms of determining healthcare service locations and the public transport network, needs to consider the distribution of older adults and disadvantaged populations.What are the implications for practitioners? Practitioners are more likely to attract older adult patients to their practices or clinics if these are located within easy access to the public transport network.

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