Clare Batterham has been on the Warwick Hospital Dental Clinic waiting list since 2006.
Clare Batterham has been on the Warwick Hospital Dental Clinic waiting list since 2006.

Qld Health fails to answer

A WARWICK woman waited four years to see a dentist at Queensland Health’s local clinic because her toothache wasn’t classified as urgent.

Clare Batterham spoke to the Daily News recently about her agonising wait, which eventually prompted her to write to her local parliamentarian Lawrence Springborg.

Yet even political pressure failed to land her a spot in the dentist chair.

While documents obtained by Mr Springborg’s office confirm Mrs Batterham has been on the Warwick dental waiting list since December 1, 2006, Queensland Health said in a response to the Daily News yesterday they could not disclose individual patient information.

Darling Downs-West Moreton Health Service district executive director Dr Peter Osborne said patients who were deemed urgent, such as those with swelling or trauma, were prioritised and seen at the Warwick Dental Clinic within 24 hours.

Dr Osborne said demand for dental services was increasing and QH was working to meet this demand.

He said Queensland provided the highest level of public dental funding nationally.

“In Warwick one week 27 patients were treated at the dental clinic and children were also treated via school dental vans,” Dr Osborne said.

“It’s important to reiterate patients who are classified as urgent are prioritised.”

He would not confirm the number of dentists working out of the Warwick Dental Clinic or the total number of people on the Southern Downs waiting list.

Neither would Dr Osborne comment on whether four years was an acceptable time period to wait to see a dentist.

The lack of QH answers added to Mrs Batterham’s frustration.

“Staff at the Warwick clinic told me I would probably never get in to see a dentist,” she said.



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