Accessing government subsidized specialist oral and maxillofacial surgery services in Western Australia

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Abstract

Background. In Western Australia the vast majority of government subsidized dental specialist services is provided through the University of Western Australia (UWA). With predicted expanding demand for services and the high cost of providing specialist services it is important that access to specialist care is targeted at need. In this study the waiting lists for oral surgery services at UWA was analyzed to test the hypothesis that demand for oral surgical care is distributed evenly across the eligible population of Western Australia.Methods: Data were obtained from de-identified waiting lists for oral surgery at UWA. This data included all patients on the oral surgery waiting list from November 2001 to December 2003.Results: Results indicated significantly less entries on the waiting list for people in remote and very remote postcode regions, and people living in postcode regions associated with a fixed government clinic were significantly more likely to be on the waiting list for oral surgery.Conclusions: The data presented identify that demand for specialist services is not driven through the expected factors of disease burden as indicated by socio-economic status, but by access to general dental services.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)168-72
JournalAustralian Dental Journal
Volume50
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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