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05 Jul 2022

Dental care in Laois 'collapse' for people who can't afford to pay to see dentist - claims TD

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People on medical cards who can't afford care losing out

The dental service scheme for medical card patients in Laois has collapsed because no service can take on patients who are entitled to free care, according to Sinn Féin TD Brian Stanley.

The Laois Offaly representative said the already very limited services is now off-limits and the only solution is the recruit dentists.

"My office has called on all dental practices in Laois and none are taking on new medical card patients under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTTS)," he said in a statement.

He said the government's programme aims to improve public health, focusing on primary care but this is not being delivered on in Laois when it comes to the care of people who need dental care.

"Dental services for medical card patients in the county I come from, Co Laois, have collapsed. There is no service for adults in Laois. Only one dentist operates under the dental treatment services scheme, DTSS. I have a list that we rang around earlier in the week to see if we could get anyone. We have been at this for weeks to see if we could get dentists to take it. Only one is dealing with existing patients and none will take new patients.

"Sixteen have resigned in Laois-Offaly in the past 12 months; eight since March. The dental scheme is not being resourced and the system has collapsed. There is no DTSS in County Laois for medical card holders at the moment," he said.

He said there is no dental scheme for primary school children.

"I raised this with the Tánaiste seven years ago when he was Minister for Health. They are in secondary school and are 14 years of age before they are seen. It is third-world country stuff. I appeal to the Tánaiste to bring this to the attention of the Minister for Health and to try to get it dealt with," he said.

In his replay, An Tánaiste Leo Varadkar replied pointed out that a row is ongoing.

"There is a dispute underway between dentists and the HSE and the Department of Health in relation to the DTSS. That is causing a break of services in some parts of the country, including, I understand, Co Laois. We are keen to have that issue resolved as soon as possible and have the DTSS restored. I will inform the Minister, Deputy Stephen Donnelly, that the Deputy has raised concerns in relation to Laois,’ he said.

 Commenting afterwards Brian Stanley added in a statement that he welcomes the commitment from Minsiter Varadkar  but said the real solution is for the HSE to employ Dentists on a long term contract.

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