AFTER years of lobbying by local residents and Cook Shire council, Cooktown now has two private dentists.
While some locals have always had access to dental services at Cooktown through Queensland Health, those without seniors or concession cards have been forced to travel to the nearest dentist in Mareeba for private services.
Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott said he was absolutely thrilled with the new services.
“The council, and deputy mayor Robyn Holmes, have been pushing this for quite some time. We’re absolutely rapt that we will have two dentists open to everyone here in town,” Cr Scott said.
Tom Meath moved to Cooktown early last year and has been providing after-hours private dental in Cooktown for about a month.
“It was a long time coming,” he said.
“We do some afternoons after 5pm and a few Saturdays and have had a good response. People are still finding out about it, but it has already been pretty busy.”
Dr Meath, originally from Cairns, has been working as a dentist in Thursday Island and throughout the Cape for the past five years.
“It’s all pretty new to me and quite exciting doing private work,” he said.
“This town needs more than one dentist, we all knew that, and to have Priya here as well is a real positive.”
Priya Hook first became aware of the town’s desperate need for private dental in 2019 when visiting Cooktown.
“I met mayor Peter Scott and he was asking me to come to Cooktown as a dentist back then,” she told Cape York Weekly.
“Council got the ball rolling and we’ve been discussing this for about a year now.”
Dr Hook moved to town with her husband Daniel – who grew up in the Cape – earlier this year and plans to open her private dentist clinic one day a week initially.
“I’m hoping to open in April, but that depends on a few things, including equipment arriving on time,” she said.
“We’re really looking forward to establishing a private practice in Cooktown and are planning to be here for the long-term.”
Both Dr Hook and Dr Meath provide public dental services through Queensland Health, as well as operating their own private practices.
They both said that the delivery of separate private dental services would not impact upon the continuing provision of free public health dental services to those who are eligible through the Cooktown community clinic.