More than 7000 patients take advantage of dental vouchers

IPSWICH'S public dental service in eight months has dealt with a waiting list of more than 3500 patients who had spent two years hoping to see a dentist.

Figures released by the West Moreton Hospital and Health Service revealed that in nine months the two-year waiting list was cut to zero patients.

Since February, more than 7000 patients have redeemed dental vouchers with Ipswich private practices.

The dramatic results are in the wake of $1 million in Federal Government funding to clear the backlog of patients.

Figures on government website indicate 618 patients are on the waiting list for general dental treatment for under a year, reduced from 2500 mid-last year.

Executive director Clinical Services Linda Hardy said West Moreton was facing the challenge of ongoing lengthy oral health waiting lists and had made extensive progress to improve the situation.

"This work could also not have been achieved so quickly without the support of local private practices. By joining forces with our private practice partners we have demonstrated that together we can make a real difference when we tackle a problem head on," she said.

Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the vouchers were sent at the discretion of WMHHS primarily to people who had been on public dental waiting lists for long periods or to those requiring urgent care.

"In addition to wiping the long wait list, WMHHS has also reduced the number of people waiting on the General Care List by 80%," he said.

Bundamba MP Jo-Ann Miller said the Health Minister should thank the previous federal Labor Government for funding which led to the cuts.

"The previous Federal Labor government provided the $1m to reduce the waiting lists," she said.

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