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Reilly calls upon Minister for Health to discuss the provision of Primary School Dental Services in counties Cavan and Monaghan

5 February, 2015

Speaking in the Seanad Chamber this morning, Sinn Fein Cavan/Monaghan Senator, Kathryn Reilly called upon the Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, to discuss the provision of Primary School Dental Services, with particular reference to the waiting times and availability of dentists visiting primary schools in counties Cavan and Monaghan.

 Senator Reilly said:

“Reductions in staff and funding have led to cutbacks in dental services in recent years. In my own county of Cavan, this has been an issue of grave concern to many families and the local Council has raised this issue on several occasions with the HSE. Collectively, Counties Cavan and Monaghan I believe are 3 to 5 years behind other counties when it comes to dentists visiting primary schools. This is unacceptable.”

 “The plight of children and young adults with dental disease is being exacerbated by the HSE’s failure to meet its obligations to children through the provision of primary school dental services. In a nutshell: the failure to provide timely screening and treatment of simple problems or early onset of dental disease causes severe deterioration which then requires complex remedial treatments which the state services often cannot provide and many families cannot afford. That is the reality.”

“I believe from previous Ministerial responses on this issue that there is a three year project to develop a new national oral health policy currently under way. Indeed the Minister and his colleagues have acknowledged that even since the introduction of the dental health action plan in 1994, inequalities remain in the oral health of the population. The vulnerability of some groups, linked to low income and-or disabilities, is of particular concern. And the severe delays in dentists visiting primary schools are having a detrimental effect on children’s oral health in their formative years.”

“In concluding her questions Senator Reilly further queried the arrears in screening children and when the commencement for screening those children would begin in Virginia, Co Cavan, asking for a timeline of same.”

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