Sinn Féin slams lack of Dental Care on NHS
Speaking during a debate on the Health Bill in the Assembly today, Michelle O'Neill MLA (Mid-Ulster) said:
"The current situation in respect of dentist services is totally unacceptable - at present there are people who cannot locate a dentist in their area, who is able to take them on as an NHS patient.
"The oral health of people in the north has been poor for a number of years, with those living in deprived areas most likely to be affected. It is a well-recognised fact that social deprivation, strongly influences the incidence of dental decay. Children living in the 20% most deprived wards in the North are almost twice as likely to have experienced dental decay as children from the 20% most affluent wards.
"These comparisons make the crisis in our dental services ever more pronounced. The bill as proposed here today will allow the department the opportunity to commission dentists services and directly employ dentists which would go some way to achieving better outcomes.
"It is crucial that the department targets resources at the areas of greatest need by encouraging dentists to register and provide care for those patients in greatest need."