News - Mareeba Dental Clinic
31 July 2014
The next generation of dentists are helping slash waiting times at the upgraded Mareeba Rural Student Dental Clinic.
A $2.6 million project has seen the number of chairs at the clinic tripled from two to six.
The project was funded by $1.885 million from the Commonwealth Government’s Health Workforce Australia with the Commonwealth Department of Education contributing a further $800,000 through the Clinical Outreach Program.
The expansion is allowing students in the final year of James Cook University’s Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree to cut their teeth in the industry.
Each year, eight fifth year dental students will complete a semester of clinical placement at Mareeba Hospital.
The Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service meet the annual running costs of the clinic and provide a dental officer to oversee the students.
The increased capacity has contributed to, and will help sustain, a huge reduction in the average wait time for a dental appointment.
In January 2013, there were 781 patients on the General Wait List with some patients waiting more than two years for an appointment.
In July, 2014, there are 337 patients waiting for an appointment and the average wait time is less than four months.
Federal Health Minister Peter Dutton said the expanded Mareeba Rural Student Dental Clinic was a perfect example of sensible, and sustainable, health investment.
“These additional chairs will provide a great training ground for young dentists while also meeting a clear need within the Mareeba community,” he said.
An official opening of the Mareeba Dental Clinic will be held on 31 July from 11am until noon at Mareeba Hospital.
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