PAIN IN THE TOOTH: People needing non-urgent treatment have to wait between five and seven years to see a public dentist.
PAIN IN THE TOOTH: People needing non-urgent treatment have to wait between five and seven years to see a public dentist.

Foley questions dental system

SEVEN years is a long time to put up with a toothache but that’s the reality for many Fraser Coast residents and Maryborough MP Chris Foley is demanding to know why.

Mr Foley put the Fraser Coast’s appalling public dental waiting list in the spotlight in Parliament this week when he asked Health Minister Paul Lucas what was being done to reduce waiting times.

People needing non-urgent treatment have to wait between five and seven years to see the public dentist, while those who call up for an emergency appointment are being told to wait weeks.

Earlier this year the dental clinic changed its appointment procedure so emergency dental patients could call in the morning and make an appointment to see the dentist.

The new process was meant to be more efficient and save people waiting around at the clinic for hours.

But Mr Foley said he’d spoken to one man who was told he had to wait eight weeks for his emergency appointment.

“Eight weeks for emergency treatment is absolutely unacceptable and a five-to-seven year waiting list is absolutely appalling,” Mr Foley said.

“The people of the Fraser Coast do not deserve to live with year-in, year-out dental pain.”

Mr Foley said he believed just one dentist was treating the hundreds of patients who need to use public dental services at Maryborough.

A Queensland Health spokesman said it would confirm next week if that were the case and also release figures for patient numbers and waiting times at Maryborough’s dental clinic.



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