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Harney presiding over dental scheme fiasco – Ó Caoláin

14 March, 2007

Sinn Féin Health spokesperson Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin TD has said the Minister for Health and Children Mary Harney should intervene immediately to prevent the total collapse of the free scheme of dental treatment for medical card holders.

Deputy Ó Caoláin said, "The threatened withdrawal of the Irish Dental Association (IDA) from the free treatment scheme for medical card holders would be further blow to our hard-pressed health services. Health Minister Harney is presiding over a fiasco where unresolved issues between the dentists, the Department of Health and Children and the HSE have been allowed to fester for years. The halting of negotiations with the IDA on the review of the dental scheme is on the basis of highly questionable legal advice - the same advice which has seen the HSE pull out of talks with the Irish Pharmaceutical Union.

"Many medical card patients have already been told by dentists that they will no longer provide treatment. Dentists are pulling out of the scheme and medical card patients are being left without a service.

"Minister Harney must immediately intervene to prevent the collapse of this scheme and to ensure dental treatment for all medical card holders. Ultimately what is needed is dental treatment available to all locally as part of the long-promised primary care network which this Government has failed to deliver." ENDS

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