Public dental wait times simply unnerving
25 July 2019
Residents across the Euroa electorate trying to access public dental care services – including dentures – continue to endure lengthy wait times almost 12 months after data released under freedom of information revealed Victoria’s public dental system is failing to keep up with demand.
According to data gathered by the Australian Dental Association Victoria from July 2018 - April 2019, on average people trying to access general public dental care are being made to wait 21.5 months – a 70 per cent state-wide increase from 2014 -15 waiting times.
Euroa MP and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said these latest findings coincide with an increase in the number of people contacting her about difficulties accessing dental services, including for dentures and dental vouchers.
“I have been contacted by a significant number of constituents who have spent upward of 18 months on the public dental wait list to access local services, particularly dentures,” Ms Ryan said.
“The Euroa electorate currently provides public dental care through Seymour Health and Northeast Health in Benalla.
“Performance data as at June 2018 by the Australian Dental Association found that on average the waiting time for general care at these practices was 22.8 months and 25.1 months respectively.
“One Benalla resident told me that they’ve been waiting for a voucher to pay for public dental treatment for over two years.
“Others have expressed their ongoing frustration at the lack of transparency regarding public dental wait times, with the Andrews Labor Government failing to publish detailed waiting list data.
“Last month, I wrote to the Health Minister requesting that she investigate the concerns of local residents struggling to access dental services.
“At the very least, people deserve to know how long they are expecting to wait for dental care.
“The government must increase transparency and publish waiting lists numbers and times by clinic so that incoming patients know what they’re signing up for.
“We should not have to accept longer wait times just because we live in regional Victoria.”