May 19, 2022

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More than 18,000 Tasmanians are currently waiting for a dentist appointment | The Examiner

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The State Government’s health system dashboard has highlighted the areas experiencing the most pressure in Tasmania’s health system. Key performance indicators for August were released on Friday and showed the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s oral health services. Last year, coronavirus restrictions resulted in in the deferral of all non-urgent dental check-ups and treatments. READ MORE: Family of missing man issue plea for information At the time, Australian Dental Association Tasmania supported the decision, with branch president Dr Alex Du Bois calling the postponement “an important measure to help limit the spread of the coronavirus”. However, the decision has seen an increase of activity through Oral Health Services Tasmania, with 18,213 adults now waiting for general care appointments- the highest in 12 months. READ MORE: Data shows growing demand on emergency and ambulance services The data showed an increase of 500 appointments for children in August when compared to July, in addition to 694 Tasmanians currently waiting for dentures. Opposition spokesperson for health Anita Dow said the data was “incredibly concerning”. “In the same week that we learnt some Tasmanians would rather remove their teeth than endure the associated costs or waitlist, we now know the waitlist has grown even bigger,” Ms Dow said. “It is clear this problem is only growing, with health dashboard data showing growth each month from December 2020.” “Patients are being forced to wait an average of 2 years to get an appointment and the associated impacts of poor oral health are well documented. “Tasmanian’s shouldn’t be forced to choose between joining a waitlist, spending big or removing their teeth.” READ MORE: A win for proposed hotel, but community concern remains Minister for Health Jeremy Rockliff acknowledged the issue and said the state government had committed $5 million to create an additional 20,000 dental appointments statewide, in addition to an increase in staffing levels to meet demand. “We are actively recruiting to ensure we can deliver these [appointments], with an additional eight dental officers recruited in recent weeks,” he said. “It is vital we all work together to implement solutions to the challenges in health, to ensure Tasmanian get the right care, in the right place, at the right time.” What do you think? Send us a letter to the editor: