QH tight-lipped on dental wait

QUEENSLAND Health has refused to disclose waiting times at Maryborough’s public dental clinic, despite Maryborough MP Chris Foley’s claims in Parliament that patients were waiting up to eight weeks for an emergency appointment and up to seven years for non-urgent treatment.

Queensland Health chief dental officer Dr Ian Meyers confirmed there was just one full-time dentist treating patients at the Maryborough dental clinic.

He said the dentist was helped by relieving staff from the Hervey Bay dental clinic.

“One dentist is on leave until December 7 and the other full-time dentist recently resigned,” he said. “Recruitment is under way to fill this position.”

Dr Meyers said patients needing emergency treatment could call the oral health call centre on 1300 300 850 between 7.30am and 4pm on weekdays.

Patients are assessed and allocated an appointment depending on the severity of symptoms.

“A dental emergency is a patient with either facial trauma or facial swelling and these people are generally seen on the same day,” he said.

“Other conditions are classed as ‘priority care’ and the level of that priority depends on the severity of their condition, including degree of pain.”

The oral health call centre opened in May.

Before that, patients had to attend the dental clinic between 7.45am and 8.30am if they needed emergency treatment.

Patients who have a deteriorating problem can phone the call centre for reassessment and may be given an earlier appointment.

They can also opt to go on a short-term waiting list in case of cancellations.

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