A scheme that enlists the support of private dentists has seen Queensland’s public dental waiting lists slashed over the last seven months. Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the Newman Government’s decision to introduce a voucher system giving eligible public dental patients the option to have procedures done by private dentists had resulted in 48,791 Queenslanders being taken off the dental waiting list.
“In February, there were 62,513 Queenslanders who had been waiting on public dental lists for more than two years as a result of the previous Labor Government’s health disaster,” Mr Springborg said.
“However, as of September, the LNP has reduced that to 13,722. That is an amazing outcome for the health of Queenslanders.”
Mr Springborg said the results strengthened his resolve to embrace more partnerships with the non-government and private sectors to help deliver quality public health care across Queensland, in keeping with the LNP’s recently launched “Blueprint for Better Healthcare in Queensland”.
He also acknowledged the Federal Government’s contribution of $8 million in 2012/13 to partner the State Government’s $186 million investment in public dental care under the National Partnership Agreement.
“What we have been able to do with this model for these eligible patients is deliver first class dental care while giving people greater choice in how they want that care provided and, at the same time, reduce the waiting lists for other Queenslanders,” he said.
“On top of that, in many cases patients have been able to choose to have their dental care closer to home as part of the Newman Government’s commitment to deliver the best care at the best time, at the best place.”
Mr Springborg said it was no secret the LNP had inherited from the previous Labor Government the worst dental and surgery waiting lists in Queensland’s history.
“There is no quick fix for what Labor did. But step by step, with partnerships between government health providers and private and non-government health providers, we can make Queensland the leading healthcare state in the nation,” he said.
“Achievements like our dental waiting-lists show we are on track to do just that.”
Mr Springborg said while he was pleased almost 50,000 Queenslanders had been helped, he was still mindful that nearly 14,000 people were still on the long-wait list for dental care.
“This government is determined to keep embracing new models of public healthcare to try to help each and every one of those dental patients,” he said.