National Partnership Agreements for Public Dental Services

Between 1 January 2013 and 31 December 2016, NSW received $185.7 million from the Commonwealth Government for additional public dental activity under previous National Partnership Agreements on Treating More Public Dental Patients.

Under the current dental National Partnership Agreement, $77.3 million is available to NSW for additional dental activity delivered between 1 January 2017 and 31 March 2019. This agreement is due to expire on 30 June 2019. NSW has exceeded activity targets set by the Commonwealth.

Benefits of the National Partnership Agreement to NSW

Increased Activity in Public Dental Services

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. Additional funding from the NSW Government has also supported increased public dental activity.
In 2018-19, the NSW Government has provided funding for an extra $10 million of dental activity. This funding is on top of $20 million added by the NSW Government over the past two financial years.
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 2017/18

​​Year 2011-2012​ 2012-2013 2013-2014​ 2014-2015 2015-2016​​​​ 2016-2017 2017-2018​
​Child 243,908 273,334​ 266,347​ 235,555​ 220,810​ ​210,574 211,005​
​Adult 394,194 470,398 565,020 560,342 575,627​ ​586,920 ​608,204
​All Ages 638,102 743,732 831,367 795,897 796,437​ ​797,494 ​819,209

 

Figure 1: NSW Public Dental Services - Number of Service Events per Financial Year, 2012/13 to 2017/18

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 2018 there were 9,607 children and 93,682 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. 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 2018.

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 June 2018.


Table 2: Number of NSW residents waiting for dental assessment and treatment as at 30 September 2018.

Lo​cal Health District​​​ Child
Assessment
Child
Treatment​
Adult
Assessment
Adult
Treat​ment ​
​ Central Coast 710 12 4,375 1,187
​ Hunter New England 195 2 973 10,843
​ Mid North Coast 89 2 225 2,820
​ Northern NSW 235 63 2,397 6,740
​ Northern Sydney 1,075 112 1,748 3,236
​ Far West 12 0 324 187
​ Nepean Blue Mountains 145 62 171 4,371
South Western Sydney​ 0 15 117 8,353
​ Sydney 0 2,314 593 11,716
​ Western NSW 544 117 301 6,089
​ Western Sydney 209 3,410 273 9,068
​ Illawarra Shoalhaven 12 1 3,554 4,302
​ Murrumbidgee 46 12 1,608 279
​ South Eastern Sydney 182 0 1,528 4,648
​ Southern NSW 15 16 1,153 503
​ Total 3,469 6,138 19,340 74,342

It should be noted that the Table 2 treatment figures also include Children (2,510) and Adults (827) who are waiting for specialist dental treatment services.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Page Updated: Thursday 20 December 2018