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Assembly to debate Sinn Féin motion on Dental Services

25 April, 2008

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson, Carál Ní Chuilín said that she welcomes the opportunity to debate the causes for the lack of NHS Dental services across all of the Board areas in the North.

Ms Ni Chuilín said:

The Assembly will debate the following motion put forward by Sinn Fein-

'That this assembly expresses concern about the lack of access to health service dental care across all Health Board areas and call on the Health Minister to urgently bring forward an action plan to address this problem'.

Carál Ní Chuilín said

"The North has once more come at the top of a'worst list'. The latest report shows that the North has the worst oral health of anywhere on these islands. The fact that delivery of Dental Services has persistently been left to the pressure of market forces has resulted in a dearth of NHS services across all of the Health Board areas.

"It is time that the Minister introduced measures to ensure the delivery of quality NHS dental services. After all Dentists are trained at the expense of the general public therefore there should be more of an onus on them to supply a service to the public who has subsidized their training through taxation. It is unacceptable that in some areas there are no dentists offer NHS treatment or accept NHS patients onto their lists.

"While there is a paper commitment from the Department of Health to ensure equitable access to dental treatment this is not how it works out in reality.

"There is a recognition that additional resources are needed to develop and sustain dental care. But so far all we have heard from Minister McGimpsey is rhetoric. The common claim from the department is that 'Entitlement to Health Service dental care should remain universal'. It is time the Minister made this a reality."

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