Lack of access to care for patients the biggest source of stress
A new survey of HSE dental surgeons who are members of the Irish Dental Association has found that one in five of them have missed work due to stress.
The highest stressor for respondents in the survey was the lack of access to secondary care services for patients, in particular to general anaesthetic services.
Mr Fintan Hourihan, Chief Executive of the Irish Dental Association, told delegates at the annual seminar of the IDA’s HSE Dental Surgeons Group in Carlow, it was clear morale in the service was on the floor.
“Sixty per cent say they regularly feel stressed at work and this is simply not sustainable. The fact that it is the lack of services for patients which is the highest stressor is telling. Our members are under severe pressure to prioritise the most serious cases.”
“The problem is all of the children on these waiting lists need urgent treatment and all need general anaesthetic. Yet dentists are being asked to subdivide them. While acute case are prioritised, less acute cases which include young children often requiring four or more extractions, can wait up to a year. This is simply not acceptable” he said.
Mr Hourihan called on the Minister for Health to enter discussion with the IDA in order to put in place a comprehensive oral health care programme for children under 6.
“With children early intervention is key. Investment in oral health promotion is cost effective. We have a limited budget, so we have to decide where it is best used and the younger age group is where we will have ultimately the best outcome in the long run” Mr Hourihan concluded.