In 2012, there were nearly 70,000 adults waiting for public dental care across New South Wales. Now, thanks to a joint initiative between the Australian government and New South Wales, that number has dropped by nearly 40%.
What Is the NPA and How Did It Reduce Waiting Lists?
The NPA, short for the blandly-named National Partnership Agreement on Treatment More Public Dental Patients is a partnership between the Commonwealth and the states. In this program, public dental patients are being allowed to visit private dentists rather than waiting to be seen by a public dentist. The patient receives a voucher which allows them to see the private dentist without having to pay a higher price for care. The dentist turns in the voucher for compensation for the price difference.
Reducing the waiting list hasn’t come cheaply. The program may cost $111 million over the two years it is in effect.
Providing Help Where It’s Needed
The impact of the NPA is very uneven, because the need is uneven. The program is focused primarily on improving treatment access for adult aboriginal individuals and those in rural areas with poor access to dental care. As a result, the impact was huge in South Western Sydney, South Eastern Sydney, and Sydney, three of the areas with the largest waiting lists. In each district, the waiting list dropped by more than 50%. In contrast, Northern Sydney, including Baulkham HIlls, has a very small waiting list, and saw only a 3% reduction in the waiting list.
Waiting for Dental Care Isn’t Good
Reducing the waiting list for dental treatment is important because dental problems worsen over time. An untreated cavity might change from needing a simple filling to a root canal. Untreated gum disease may lead to tooth loss, and may make you a poor candidate for a dental implant to replace it.
Although this initiative is helping people on wait lists get care, it can’t do anything for people who just aren’t going to the dentist. If this is you, we encourage you to come in. If anxiety is keeping you away, please try sedation dentistry, it really works.
Don’t wait any longer for your dental care. Please contact My Hills Dentist in Baulkham Hills today.