23 February 2023

Drop in waiting times for public dental care, but concerns remain over long-term access

Waiting times for public dental treatment dropped to an average 16.5 months in December 2022 as a result of a one-off injection of funds, however concerns remain about ongoing access to dental care for more than 1.5 million eligible Victorians.

“These are the lowest waiting times to access public dental care in Victoria since 2016/17, which comes off the back of ongoing advocacy from the ADAVB to increase funding,” said ADAVB President A/Prof Warren Shnider. “However, waiting more than 12 months is still unacceptable for patients with significant treatment needs.”

The Victorian Government provided $27 million last year to target waiting lists after the delays in accessing care imposed by government restrictions, which had seen the waiting time blow out to 26.7 months in June 2022. This additional funding has helped to remove a large number of patients from the waiting list, but concerns remain about the ability of eligible patients to access care given the chronic underfunding of public dentistry. “History tells us that these one-off injections of cash only offer short term relief, and without a more sustainable approach, we know that waiting times will rapidly increase,” said A/Prof Shnider.

View media release