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Friday, 8th October 2021

Crisis in public dental care as dentists continue to leave medical card scheme

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Deputy Imelda Munster.

Minister for Health must address this crisis. Medical card holders mustn’t be punished and left without necessary dental procedures” - Munster

Sinn Féin TD Imelda Munster, has raised concerns around the lack of dentists in Drogheda who provide dental care to medical card holders.

She says that between March 2020 and August 2021, nine dentists have left the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) in Louth and 12 have left the scheme in Meath, leaving medical card holders unable to access vital dental care.

In January 2017 there were 35 dentists in Louth on the scheme, but by January 2021 this was down to twenty, with the possibility of further departures since.

“My office in Drogheda has been inundated with calls from people whose dentists are no longer accepting medical cards” Deputy Munster said.

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“It’s a very basic service that medical card holders are entitled to, and the departure of dentists from the scheme has to be addressed.

“In 2020 almost a quarter of participating dentists across the state left the scheme. This clearly shows that the scheme is in crisis and it needs to be addressed.

“This is really hurting medical card holders, and the Minister needs to take responsibility.

“The pandemic meant that dentists incurred extra costs, which raised the cost of providing care to patients and this made the existing DTSS contract unviable.

“I have written to the Minister and to the HSE asking that they engage with dentists and ensure that every medical card holder can access their entitlements, as is their right.

“I hope that dentists will play their part in ensuring that the DTSS scheme can continue to provide dental care for patients, and that the current situation can be rectified in the near future.

“Patients who are medical card holders mustn’t be punished and left without oral hygiene and necessary dental procedures.

“The HSE can’t stand back and allow that to happen.”

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