National Partnership Agreement on Treating More Public Dental Patients

The first National Partnership Agreement (NPA) on Treating More Public Dental Patients provided $110.8 million to NSW for additional public dental activity between 1 January 2013 and 31 March 2015. A second Agreement provided a further $49.9 million in 2015-16. This agreement was extended by the Commonwealth for 6 months until 31 December 2016 with a further $25 million available to NSW. NSW Public Dental Services exceeded the activity targets set by the Commonwealth under these NPAs.

The Commonwealth has announced a new Dental NPA from 1 January 2017.

Benefits of the NPA to NSW

Activity

There has been a significant increase in public dental service activity as a result of the National Partnership Agreements through strategies such as increasing recruitment of dental staff, increasing clinic hours and available chair time, and increased use of the private sector via the NSW Oral Health Fee for Service Scheme. In 2016-17, the NSW Government has provided an additional $10 million to deliver additional public dental service patient activity.

Of note, child activity has decreased since the introduction of the Child Dental Benefits Schedule on 1 January 2014.

Table 1: NSW Public Dental Services - Number of Service Events per Financial Year, 2011/12 to 2016/17

​​Year 2011-2012​ 2012-2013 2013-2014​ 2014-2015 2015-2016​​​​ 2016-17
​Child 243,908 273,334​ 266,347​ 235,555​ 220,810​ ​210,574
​Adult 394,194 470,398 565,020 560,342 575,627​ ​586,920
​All Ages 638,102 743,732 831,367 795,897 796,437​ ​797,494

 

Figure 1: NSW Public Dental Services - Number of Service Events per Financial Year, 2012/13 to 2016/17

Line graph of Service Events per Financial Year. Text version in Table 1 above. 

Waiting lists and times

The increased activity initially had a significant effect on lowering waiting list numbers, however increased awareness of the public dental service has also increased demand, and waiting list numbers have since increased. Despite this increase, waiting times for adult general dental services are considerably lower than they were before the first NPA.

At the end of September 2017 there were 12,767 children and 92,387 adults on NSW public dental waiting lists.

The NSW Policy Directive Priority Oral Health Program and List Management Protocols, sets out recommended maximum waiting times for dental care, based on a persons oral health needs. Of the total number of children waiting general dental treatment, 86% were within clinically acceptable benchmark times. Of the total number of adults waiting for general dental treatment, 76% were within clinically acceptable benchmark times.

Patients requiring the most urgent care are given appointments immediately, and are not counted on waiting lists or in data related to waiting times. Patients on waiting lists for general dental treatment are not urgent case​s. A more detailed breakdown of waiting lists by priority code is also available.

Figure 2: Number of NSW residents waiting for dental assessment and treatment, 31 December 2011 to 30 September 2017.

Line graph of residents waiting for dental assessment and treatment. Link to text alternative follows image.
The number of NSW residents waiting for dental assessment and treatment is also available in tabular format for 31 December 2011 to 30 September 2017.


Table 2: Number of NSW residents waiting for dental assessment and treatment as at 30 September 2017.

Lo​cal Health District​​​ Child
Assessment
Child
Treatment​
Adult
Assessment
Adult
Treat​ment ​
​ Central Coast 917 58 5,306 2,111
​ Hunter New England 408 0 1,040 8,889
​ Mid North Coast 392 130 1,393 3,505
​ Northern NSW 190 235 1,592 6,016
​ Northern Sydney 788 165 1,226 4,042
​ Far West 160 1 320 106
​ Nepean Blue Mountains 406 515 300 5,334
South Western Sydney​ 3 1,150 1,488 10,129
​ Sydney 2 323 589 5,863
​ Western NSW 674 313 480 3,428
​ Western Sydney 187 3,953 148 9,965
​ Illawarra Shoalhaven 480 215 3,115 2,841
​ Murrumbidgee 43 212 1,986 279
​ South Eastern Sydney 336 309 3,175 6,609
​ Southern NSW 171 31 1,496 156
​ Total 5,157 7,610 23,654 68,733

* Data for Hunter New England LHD is by location of service. All other LHD data is by patient's LHD of residence.

It should be noted that the Table 2 treatment figures also include Children (2,955) and Adults (2,886) who are waiting for specialist dental treatment services.​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Page Updated: Tuesday 8 August 2017