THE refurbished, state-of-the-art Proserpine Hospital Dental Clinic was officially opened last Friday.
The Federal Government contributed nearly $1.7m to the expansion of the clinic, which now boasts four chairs, as well as a brand new laboratory and sterilising area.
Federal Member for Dawson George Christensen said the upgraded facility, which is run in conjunction with James Cook University (JCU) and the Mackay Health and Hospital Service, had reduced waiting times for dental services in the Whitsunday area by 75 per cent.
“You don’t have to go to Townsville now to get that dental surgery done, or Mackay or Brisbane, or even Thailand as some people do these days. You can have it done right here in the Whitsundays within an appropriate timeframe,” he said. “The result for the people of Proserpine and the Whitsundays is they now have access to a modern dental facility which is of the same standard as that available at Mackay Base Hospital,” he said.
The clinic has been treating patients since April and has offered more than 1000 appointments since July.
Mr Christensen said the partnership with JCU, whereby dental students are trained at the Proserpine Dental Clinic, had long term benefits for the community.
“We all know that if you have students in training in a particular regional community, they’re likely to come back and actually live here and practice here, so it’s wins all round basically.”
Senior Denist and Clinical Supervisor for the JCU dental students Nikola Stojanovic said the new facilities were a great improvement. “The waiting list used to be very long, maybe four years. Now it’s down to 12 months, which is really good,” he said.
“It means we can have a really good turnover and we can actually monitor oral health and provide the appropriate treatment at the appropriate time.”
Whitsunday MP Jason Costigan said the upgraded clinic was music to his ears. “I think this is a great day today, not only for the people of Proserpine but also for Airlie Beach and Cannonvale; doubling the facility effectively, the capability and putting money in, getting results and getting those outcomes,” he said.