Dental care in “crisis” with a dentist for 2,000 patients with a medical card


Irish Dental Association (IDA) Managing Director Fintan Hourihan said he was “gravely disappointed” with the Minister of Health over measures to improve access to dental care, despite indications to the contrary from the Minister of Health. government in the budget.

Although a budget of 45 million euros has been announced to increase access and affordability of medical and dental care, including the extension of free dental care, “we have yet to see how the Department is considering deploying this, and our members have not been consulted on a proposal to do the same, ”Hourihan said.

There are now only 750 dentists treating patients with medical cards, which is less than half of the number of Dental Treatment Services Program (DTSS) contracts held by dentists until 20 years ago. is two years old.

This equates to one dentist for every 2,000 patients with a medical card, according to the IDA.

In an interview with in June, Hourihan said the number of private dentists leaving the program had left the HSE “overwhelmed”, while warning that the situation would only get worse without urgent action.

Speaking today, he said: “To put it in context, this represents one dentist for every 2,000 patients with a medical card. This means that there are now parts of the country where there is only one dentist covering an entire county or region.

Waiting lists

“In addition, we continue to have serious concerns about access to dental care for children due to the significant deterioration in the level of service provided by the public dental service. There are now approximately 100,000 children on waiting lists for public dental appointments and a six-year waiting list for orthodontic treatment.

Mr Hourihan said it was becoming “more and more difficult” to see how the medical card system could survive.

This means that “more and more of our most vulnerable patients will lose important access to dental care.”

Mr Hourihan concluded: ‘An entirely new program is needed, and, although deeply frustrated, we continue to call on the government to engage with the Irish Dental Association on an alternative proposal for a more sustainable solution that guarantees the access to care for those who need it is the most.


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