Travel pass to be provided for children’s dental appointments – Munster
Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has welcomed the announcement that travel passes are to be provided by the HSE for primary school children in the Drogheda/ South Louth area who, since January, have been forced to travel to Dundalk, having been left without a local dental service. Deputy Munster raised this matter with the Minister in the Dáil several weeks ago, and expressed concern that many children do not have the means to travel to Dundalk, leaving them with no access to dental services.
Deputy Munster had suggested that a mobile dental unit might be a practical solution in the short term. However, Ministers had claimed that this was not possible for health and safety reasons, despite their use being widespread in other states such as England.
Deputy Munster also suggested, in the absence of a mobile unit, a HSE-run hourly shuttle bus to assist families with their travel needs, as they are now obliged to travel to Dundalk and Navan.
Eventually, the HSE has agreed to provide a travel pass for families who have no alternative means of travel, and who previously availed of services in the town but are now forced to attend either the service in Dundalk or Navan, a development which Deputy Munster has welcomed.
Deputy Munster said:
“Upwards of 4,800 children have been left without a service locally since the New Year, and a local dental service is not expected to open until June. I am happy to hear that the HSE has heeded my calls for a solution and that arrangements are finally being made to ensure that children whose families who do not have access to a car can still access dental care.
“The transport will be by way of rail and bus passes and will be issued prior to the dental appointment. Parents are asked to present to their local health centre in Drogheda with their dental appointment card to receive a transport pass. Failing that, other verification of their appointment can be used to make arrangements.”