Minister conceals wait times of decaying public dental system

30 October 2019

Thousands of patients waiting for access to public dental care across north east Victoria and the Goulburn Valley are being kept in the dark about how long they have to wait for treatment. 

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Euroa MP and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan called out the Health Minister’s tardiness in responding to six questions about public dental wait times which were tabled 20 June 2019.

Ms Ryan said the questions, which asked the Minister to specify the number of patients currently waiting for access to public dental care in towns across the north east and Goulburn Valley, are now 132 days overdue.

“The Minister’s delay in responding to the community’s concerns about public dental wait times is completely unacceptable and raises concerns about what the Andrews Government is hiding,” Ms Ryan said.

“Access to timely public dental care continues to be a major issue for residents across the Euroa electorate, with some residents waiting upward of 18 months to access local services, particularly dentures.

“According to data gathered by the Australian Dental Association Victoria from July 2018 – April 2019, on average patients trying to access general public dental care are being made to wait 21.5 months which is a 70 per cent state-wide increase from 2014-15 waiting times.

“The Andrews Government have a proven track record of concealing public dental wait time figures, with previous findings having to be obtained under freedom of information.

“In May 2018, the then Minister for Health Jill Hennessy announced additional dental funding to ‘blitz’ waiting lists before the end of the financial year saying ‘waiting lists have ballooned out to more than 19 months for general care and 17 months for denture care.

“Since then, I have contacted two consecutive health ministers regarding the current waiting times.

“The Minister’s delay in responding to questions raised is utterly disgraceful.

“Labor is going to extreme lengths to conceal Victoria’s public dental wait times which leads us to believe that the current system is in a complete state of decay.”

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