- New survey from Irish Dental Association shows one in six patients are waiting over 3 months for an elective appointment, while more than half of patients are being forced to wait longer than 3 months for specialist care
- More than 50% of dentists surveyed have tried to hire a dentist in the past 12 months with almost 60% of those are unable to find a suitable candidate
- 80% of IDA members who currently hold a DTSS contract say they are no longer able to take on or see new medical card patients
- 93% of dentists say that they would not sign up to the medical card contract in its current form during any talks on a new scheme
- Survey comes as members of the Irish Dental Association vote no confidence in Minister for Health at pre-conference AGM
- Irish Dental Association President Eamon Croke: “Our membership is beyond frustrated at the endless broken promises and false dawns by the Minister and his Department. The recent vote of no confidence in the Minister by dentists shows how broken their trust is in a system and service that has no capacity or seen any meaningful commitment to reform.”
A new survey from the Irish Dental Association shows that almost 40% of patients are now having to wait an average of up to 3 months to get an elective appointment.
These new findings were announced as dentists gather in Kilkenny this weekend for the Irish Dental Association’s Annual Conference.
The survey also shows that over half of patients are being forced to wait longer than 3 months for specialist care which includes orthodontic and oral surgery.
It follows a recent vote of no confidence tabled against the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly and Department of Health officials at the Irish Dental Association’s pre-conference AGM, which took place on last week.
The Irish Dental Association say this is the direct result of ongoing recruitment issues and a capacity crisis across the sector. More than half of dentists surveyed say they have tried to hire a dentist for their practice in the last 12 months with almost 60% of those unable to find a suitable candidate.
One quarter of dentists are currently not in a position to take on new private adult patients, while four out of five dentists surveyed said they don’t have the capacity to take on any new patients, including children.
As a result, patients are finding it increasingly difficult to access essential care across both the private and public sector, particularly those most vulnerable.
Speaking ahead of the Irish Dental Association’s Annual Conference in Kilkenny, President Eamon Croke said:
“The stark results of this survey and the resounding response from our members substantiate our concerns surrounding the ongoing issues facing the sector, which are acting as significant barriers to patients who require access to adequate and efficient oral healthcare.
“The fact that an unprecedented 93% of dentists say that they would not sign up to the medical card contract in its current form even with the promise of a new scheme is indicative of a model which is not fit for purpose and directly impacts on the most vulnerable in our society.
“We see this also in the Government’s plans to provide for new prevention-focused oral healthcare for children aged from birth to seven years through a model where they are only seen by a private dentist, moving away from public service screening. It’s notable from our survey that 83% of members would not be in a position to sign up to such a scheme for Under 7s due to practices already being understaffed and overstretched.
“Our membership is beyond frustrated at the endless broken promises and false dawns by the Minister and his Department. The recent vote of no confidence in the Minister by dentists shows how broken their trust is in a system and service that has no capacity or seen any meaningful commitment to reform.
“The Minister himself said this week that the state has had a ‘blind spot’ when it comes to dentistry and oral health. Our question to the Minister and his officials today is what it will take to open their eyes to the scale and urgency of the crisis that they choose to ignore so that dental health is finally recognised as an integral part of general health. Sadly, without the political willingness, patients – particular children and those most vulnerable – will continue to shoulder the burden of a system crumbling under decades of inaction and neglect.”