The number of dental patients on the waiting list in the Sunshine Coast Hospital and Health Service (SCHHS) has almost halved during the period February 2013 to December 2013.
Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said SCHHS issued 12,139 dental vouchers, of which 11,632 have already been claimed – giving patients access to dental care they so desperately need.
“Vouchers were sent at the discretion of SCHHS, primarily to people who had been on public dental waiting lists for long periods or to those requiring urgent care,” Mr Springborg said.
“In February 2013, 8,836 people were on the General Care Waiting List but by December 2013, this had reduced dramatically to 4,736.
“Further, the number of patients waiting for more than two years for treatment has been slashed by more than 97 per cent.
“This improvement has also seen Queensland Health exceed the Commonwealth performance target, resulting in a $30 million reward payment.
“The reward payment will reimburse the Queensland Department of Health the money it provided to hospital and health services to treat patients waiting on dental lists.
”Thanks to this additional funding, the SCHHS was able to increase its use of the existing dental voucher scheme.
“The former Labor Government left in excess of 100,000 Queenslanders on dental waiting lists, with more than 60,000 left to wait two years or more for treatment.
”We promised to revitalise frontline services and have worked hard to provide patients with the care they need.
“By making some simple changes, improving engagement with the private sector and through the hard work of Queensland Health’s oral health staff, we have been able to achieve some great results.
“Under the former Labor Government, tens of thousands of people waited too long to receive the care they required, but the LNP will ensure these lists never spiral out of control again.
”We’ll continue to work hard to make sure people living in the Sunshine Coast region are able to access oral health services when and where they need them most.”