Wednesday, 25 June 2008

DIY dentist ends four-year wait agony

A NSW man who has been on the dental waiting list since 2004 was in such excruciating pain that he took the extreme measure of pulling out one of his teeth.

For four years, Jeffrey Miners has survived on a daily cocktail of painkillers but four weeks ago, his excruciating gum pain was no longer bearable and he pulled out the tooth.

The 58-year-old, who has other complex health problems, has been on the NSW dental waiting list since 2004 and still has no date for his surgery despite urgently needing 13 teeth extracted.

Mr Miners, of Bega, had heart bypass surgery in March and is now fit enough to undergo dental surgery, but he has been told that he faces at least another 18-month wait before he can be operated on in Sydney's Prince of Wales hospital.

Opposition health spokeswoman, Jillian Skinner, said it was outrageous that almost 160,000 people were still waiting for necessary dental treatment in NSW.

"Patients like Jeffrey Miners are waiting in pain and undertaking drastic action because health minister, Reba Meagher, has failed to give them appropriate dental care," Mrs Skinner said.

"You don't need to be a dentist to see that patients like Jeffrey Miners need urgent dental care, but the Iemma Government is so incompetent it can't even get that right."

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