'Difficult': Gladstone region dentist shuts without dentists

CALLIOPE'S only dental surgery can't find any dentists and is now being forced to close.

Manager of Hazelbrook Village Shopping Centre Barbara Nairne said without dentists, the owner of the A2Z Dental surgery would pay rent for an empty shop until March.

It leaves Calliope's 3000 residents with a 20-minute commute to the nearest dentist in Gladstone.

Dr Michael Foley, member of Australian Dental Association's federal oral health committee, said Calliope's proximity to Gladstone may have it financially unviable. Gladstone has about six dental clinics.

He said you need a base of "quite a few thousand people" to make a dental surgery financially viable.

"It's difficult to maintain a financially viable dental practice," he said.

Mr Foley, who grew up on a sugar cane field near Bundaberg, said he sees the attraction of working regionally but "understandably, many dentists who lived and trained in the city don't want to leave".

"There are attractions to working in regional towns and they are often social attractions, sporting attractions and community spirit," he said.

"But there are difficulties in attracting some health professionals, many of whom are from the cities."

He also said it had dramatically changed since "a generation or two ago", with most young health professionals partnered with another professional who often struggle to find work in a smaller town.

"A generation or two ago, the dentist was almost invariably male and his wife stayed at home with the kids," he said.

"It's difficult to find work for both partners."



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