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Time for McGimpsey to tackle access to dentists

28 April, 2008

Sinn Féin MLA for Mid Ulster, Michelle O'Neill, who is the deputy chair of the Assembly Health Committee, has said that Sinn Féin are unhappy that so many people still don't have access to NHS dental treatment despite earlier promises from the Health Minister Michael McGimpsey to ensure that many of our rural areas get the level of access they are entitled to.

The Assembly will debate the issue of access to NHS dental treatment tomorrow, Tuesday 29th April.

'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.'

Speaking ahead of the debate, Michelle O'Neill said:

"The current situation in respect of dentist services is utterly unacceptable - at present there are people who cannot locate a dentist in their area that is able or willing to provide treatment as an NHS patient.

"The latest reports have shown that the North has the worst oral health anywhere in Ireland or Britain. The Minister needs to introduce measures to guarantee delivery of quality of NHS dental services.

"We have heard the promises yet still there has been little or no progress. IN many rural areas, in Fermanagh and Tyrone, it is virtually impossible for people seeking treatment to get access to NHS dental treatment"

She also stated:

"Dentists are trained at the expense of the general public who subsidise their training though taxation. This is unacceptable and it is time the Minister did something about this enormous problem." ENDS

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