Shortage of dentists in Outer Regional and Remote areas and long public dental waiting lists: Changes over the past decade

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Abstract

Objective: The shortage of dentists in Outer Regional and Remote areas of Australia and long public dental waiting lists have been the subject of media attention over the last decade. A number of state and federal initiatives were introduced over the years to address these problems. This study aims to gauge whether the waiting lists and shortage of dentists in Outer Regional and Remote areas have seen a positive change over the last decade. Design: This evaluation study analysed and compared the number of dentists full-time equivalent per 100 000 population, eligible population and waiting list size (New South Wales and Queensland) at various points in time over the last decade. Setting: National. Participants: Data were extracted from practitioner registry reports. Main outcome measures: Number of dentists practising in Outer Regional and Remote areas of Australia and number of people on the public dental waiting list (New South Wales and Queensland). Results: There was a significant improvement in the number of dentists practising in Outer Regional and Remote areas of Australia. The public dental waiting lists in New South Wales and Queensland (as of September 2016) were found to have surpassed their pre National Partnership Agreement levels in 2012. The growth of public dental waiting lists exceeded the growth of the eligible population by a significant margin. Conclusion: The dentist-to-population ratios in Outer Regional and Remote areas have seen a significant improvement. The reduction in the number of people on the public dental waiting list was significant, but brief.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-289
Number of pages6
JournalAustralian Journal of Rural Health
Volume26
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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