Fixing holes in dental care
WHILE Tweed Hospital emergency triage departments continue to miss benchmarks and GP waiting lists continue to grow, the NSW Government has announced a Dental Health Taskforce to address dental services.
Tweed MP Geoff Provest said that while there wasn’t a current shortage in dental services on the Tweed, the taskforce would take a close look at the provision of services, while a draft Clinical Services Plan to look at general health facilities for the next 10 years wouldn’t be completed until January.
He said dental health was a key factor in general good health and for that reason improving dental outcomes was a priority of the NSW Government.
“The NSW Government understands that good dental health is fundamental to the enjoyment of life, vital to general good health and significantly contributes to confidence and wellbeing and we are committed to ensuring that there is a marked improvement in dental health services,” Mr Provest said.
“Rates of complete tooth loss and untreated decay, for example, are much more prevalent in regional NSW, so it is vital that we look at strategies to overcome the factors that are causing regional people to suffer significantly poorer oral health.”
Mr Provest said he blamed bureaucrats in Sydney for poor general health services on the Tweed, exposed by Bureau of Health Information reports showing the Tweed Hospital had failed to meet emergency department triage benchmarks in five out of seven key areas.
He said the Clinical Services Plan, developed by clinicians, planners and managers from the Northern NSW Local Health Network and Tweed Hospital, would “cast a new light”.
“Bureaucrats in Sydney have no idea what is happening here,” Mr Provest said.
“That’s why we’re putting our doctors in charge to develop their own criti- cal health plan which will lead into a master plan about future facilities for the Tweed.
“We’re breaking down the high level of bureaucrats.”
Northern NSW Local Health Network chief executive Chris Crawford said a 10-year plan developed in 2002 had “run its course” and it was time for a new Clinical Services Plan.