EXCLUSIVE: Mount Druitt Hopital bites back at dental care waiting times

THERE were big smiles at Mount Druitt Hospital when the $6 million oral health centre was officially opened last Thursday.

The centre is double the capacity of the previous dental facility that has been there since 1992.

"We expect 70-80 patients to be seen here on any day," healthy lifestyles minister Kevin Humphries said.

"There's potential to do a lot more as the centre was built for future growth.

"We're training more dentists in the public health system than ever before so there's still room to grow."

Improvements include eight additional treatment rooms to relieve long waiting lists and a state of the art sterilisation unit to cope with the increased demand.

Some treatment rooms have been designed for paediatric and adult patients.

"We've been waiting for this for a long time and it is long overdue," oral health centre head Gabriel Hajjar said.

"We have a world class facility and equipment.

"People are confident and happy to receive this care in a public hospital. We've been open for a week now and have had lots of comments from patients. It's a pleasure to work here."

The centre has also put on more staff on a rotational basis.

"We have strong links with the Westmead Centre for Oral Health," Dr Hajjar said.

Ropes Crossing resident Trevor Fitch described the centre as excellent when he was treated there last week.

‘‘It’s what Mount Druitt needs,’’ his wife Iris said.

The oral health centre was part of a $324 million redevelopment of Blacktown and Mount Druitt hospitals.

Other Mount Druitt upgrades include a new urgent care centre and expanded emergency and rehabilitation departments.

Health minister Jillian Skinner will visit Mount Druitt next week for the unveiling of the James ‘‘Mac’’ Wyllie Operating Suite in honour of the retired surgeon.

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