Collapse in dental services at crisis point – David Cullinane TD
Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed alarm at the collapse in dental services in the last two years.
Teachta Cullinane said that the situation has reached crisis point as waiting lists for dental and orthodontic treatments soar and dentists drop out of the medical card scheme in record numbers.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“The collapse in dental services across the state is at crisis point, with more than 33% of dentists having left the medical card dental scheme in the last 5 years.
"In 2015 there were 1,847 dentists signed up to the Dental Services Scheme and yet it now stands at 1,247.
“This crisis is underlined in the collapse in spending on dental treatment from a high of €60m to just over €40m.
“The Irish Dental Association highlighted their concerns recently in the Health Committee, stating that difficulty in accessing dental treatment contributes to poor oral health and greater healthcare costs.
"Medical card patients are waiting longer for treatment as less and less dentists are signed up to the scheme.
“The burden of this disproportionately falls on lower income groups, especially those who rely on medical cards. As well as a crisis in the DTSS scheme we have record number of children waiting for dental treatment under general anaesthetic with waiting lists in this category now at 1,200 and over 15,000 patients waiting for Orthodontic Treatment.
"Care delayed is care denied. The Minister for Health needs to fix problems with the DTSS scheme in the short term while moving towards a new scheme that puts prevention as well as access to care at its core.
“We also need significant additional investment in public dental capacity with more Dentists and Orthodontists employed in the public system. We need root and branch reform if we are to stand any chance of improving care and reducing wait times.”