Kerry dental crisis requires urgent response - Pa Daly
Sinn Féin TD for Kerry, Pa Daly, expressed his alarm at the horrific situations people in need of dental care are facing, and has called on government to provide an urgent response to the dental crisis that has unfolded in Kerry.
Teachta Daly said:
“The collapse in dental services is a crisis that must be dealt with as a matter of urgency by the government. More than 50% of dentists in Kerry have left the medical card dental scheme in the last five years. This crisis is underlined by a 48% collapse in spending for Kerry over the past three years.
“All of this has placed undue pressure on the HSE Oral health with dental and orthodontic waiting lists spiralling out of control. The number of patients seen by HSE Oral Health in Kerry collapsed last year by 63%.
“Many primary children will be heading into third year in secondary school before they can have their sixth class dental exam. While Covid-19 is clearly to blame for some of this delay, it is inexcusable that so many children will now face painful and difficult orthodontic care after waiting too long for standard examinations.
“I am also hearing from too many people who cannot access public dental care in Kerry, and are being sent to Limerick for treatment. Preventive care is non-existent for public patients.
“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 overall.
“The burden of this disproportionately falls on lower income groups, especially those who rely on medical cards.
“Dentists have expressed ethical as well as practical concerns about unilateral cuts to the dental scheme imposed during austerity. This devastated dentists’ ability to deliver quality care to medical card patients.
“Care delayed is care denied and the crisis in health continues to get worse under this Government.”