Record number of Western Australian on dental health waitlist

September 28th, 2012 by: admin

Thursday 16 Aug 2012

A record 25,000 Western Australians are currently on the waitlist to receive dental health treatment, Shadow Health Minister Roger Cook said today.

Mr Cook said a Health Department performance report revealed the dental waitlist had increased from 24,000 in the previous quarter to 25,772. At the same time the number of procedures performed in the quarter fell by 2,750.

“Queues for dental health services have grown and services deteriorated under the Barnett Government,” he said.

“The waitlist to receive dental health treatment has now exceeded 25,000 people, an increase of more than 7,000 people in only one year.

“These are serious, pain relieving procedures and the Barnett Government’s failure to cut the queues means Western Australians are left to suffer painful conditions until they can be treated.

“This is unacceptable, given the number of procedures undertaken by the Department decreased by 2.5 per cent in the same quarter.

“It is unforgivable that service levels have actually fallen under the Barnett Government, while waitlists continue to grow.”

Mr Cook said the attraction and retention of staff was one of the biggest challenges facing the public dental service.

“One of the key reasons we are struggling to get real improvement in services is the poor wages and conditions of the people working in the sector,” he said.

“Health Minister Kim Hames claimed better wages and conditions are an important part of improving services.

“Until we get more staff into our clinics the queues will get longer and services will get worse.

“The Barnett Government must reach a fair EBA outcome with dental care assistants.

“People rely on these services to get pain relief and to stop their dental health becoming a chronic health condition.

“The Barnett Government’s failure to make dental health a priority means patient health will continue to suffer.”

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