Irish Dental Association calls for priority for dentistry

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has launched its Manifesto for the forthcoming general election. It says the new Government must prioritise dental health. IDA Chief Executive Officer Fintan Hourihan, said: “We are calling on all of the political parties to let people know what plans they have in relation to dental services and we are urging the new Government to examine the cuts to dental services made in recent times and consider their reinstatement”.

Recent cutbacks in dental health services are having a devastating impact on patients and are costing the State more in the long-run, according to the Irish Dental Association. The IDA Manifesto highlights four crisis issues in dental health care in Ireland:
  • 1. The stopping of all treatment (except the annual oral examination) under the PRSI Dental Scheme.
  • 2. The restriction of treatment under the Medical Card Dental Scheme to emergency dental care.
  • 3. The closure of clinics, the non-screening of children and long delays for patients due to the non-filling of critical vacancies in the Public Dental Service.
  • 4. The failure to fill the vacant Chief Dental Officer post, meaning that there has been no development of oral health policy in Ireland.

Mr Hourihan outlined the devastating impact that the severe cuts in the State’s two dental treatment schemes are having on patients all over the country: "Two million PRSI workers are being denied their entitlement to treatment despite paying increased social insurance charges and 1.2 million medical card holders are not receiving the treatment they need, beyond emergency treatment, because of cutbacks to the Medical Card Dental Scheme. The cutback in the Medical Card Dental Scheme is particularly worrying because medical card holders generally have a poorer level of oral health", said Mr. Hourihan. NB PRSI workers are those who pay for part of their treatment; the Medical Card Scheme is for those who cannot afford charges.


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