Dentists have denounced the HSE’s service plan for 2015 as a devastating blow after it was confirmed that almost four million adult patients are now facing a sixth successive year of cuts to dental treatments worth €100m annually.
The Chief Executive of the Irish Dental Association Fintan Hourihan, said dentists were shocked that there was no provision to increase funds towards the costs of dental care treatment for medical card holders in 2015.
Commenting on the publication of the HSE service plan for 2015, Mr Hourihan said;
“Since 2010, adults covered by the dental scheme for HSE medical card holders and those covered by the Department of Social Protection’s PRSI dental scheme have seen ongoing annual cuts in state supports of over €100m each and every year. It is therefore incomprehensible that there is no additional funding for medical card patients in the first service plan for seven years to provide a net increase in spending.”
“The result of this continued deterioration in assistance for patients has been characterised by a huge decline in patients attending for preventive care and treatment which in turn has caused a massive rise in extractions (up over 33% since 2009), the greater provision of dentures and the rising incidence of tooth decay and gum disease.”
“The legacy of these years of systematic dental neglect by the state will be reaped for many years to come. It is long past time for the HSE and the Department of Health to prioritise support for patients requiring dental care and treatment. Today is not only a missed opportunity but a devastating blow to all those advocating for urgent action and funding for oral health.”
“The €1m provided for orthodontic waiting lists is a paltry sum for a huge problem but the fact remains that those with unmet or diagnosed dental need represents a huge multiple of those requiring orthodontic care and treatment” Mr Hourihan concluded.
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