Public dentists to walk off the job in Vic

Public dentists in Victoria will strike on over pay and wait times for patients.
Public dentists in Victoria will strike on over pay and wait times for patients.

Up to 100 public dentists will walk off the job in Victoria in a push for more pay and to reduce patient waiting times.

The Victorian branch of the Australian Dental Association is pushing for a 19.2 per cent wage rise over four years for community health agency dentists, in line with a recent pay increase for their public hospital counterparts.

"We don't think that public dentistry and public dentists are being respected enough for the work that they do," the head of the ADA's Victorian branch, Matthew Hopcraft, told AAP on Tuesday.

Up to 100 dentists are expected to walk off the job between 12.30pm and 1pm on Wednesday.

Prof Hopcraft said the pay disparity was affecting the recruitment and retention of public dentists, which was flowing through to patient care.

Wait times had blown out by 67 per cent over the past three years, with the average waiting time now 20 months, he added.

"We're calling on the Victorian government to more adequately fund the public dental system so patients can see better outcomes," he added.

Health Minister Jill Hennessy told reporters she was concerned about wait times and federal funding cuts to public dental.

"Sometimes industrial action is a consequence of those negotiations. I'd hope that both of the parties are able to resolve those as quickly as possible," she said, adding the state had recently boosted funding.

"The agreement that we have with the commonwealth expires at the end of this year and the commonwealth are providing no new information about where additional funding might be coming from in the future."

Opposition leader Matthew Guy said there were "issues with the dentist community" and he hoped the dental association could sort them out.

ADA Victoria flagged further industrial action, including stoppages around administrative tasks and responding to phone calls.

Australian Associated Press