Friday 17th October 2014. A leading representative of the Irish Dental Association has said the pressure on the Public Dental Service has led to soaring waiting lists for patients while pushing dentists to breaking point.
Frances O’Callaghan, the newly elected President of the HSE Dental Surgeons group said that while the Service continues to lose staff – staff that are not replaced due to the current recruitment embargo – the number of eligible patients continues to grow.
“We are seeing evidence on a daily basis of increased levels of untreated dental disease amongst our patients and this is a huge concern for our members. Staff levels have fallen to the point that our ability to deal with the basic treatment needs of our patients is now critically compromised.
“More patients are presenting with pain and infection, requiring complex treatments and in certain circumstances hospital admission. Waiting lists for treatment under general anaesthesia, orthodontics and oral surgery are continuing to mount due to the lack of resources”
Ms O’Callaghan was speaking to delegates at the annual conference for HSE dental surgeons which took place at the Mount Wolsley Hotel in County Carlow.
Ms O’Callaghan, who works in the Dublin South East/Wicklow HSE area, said the ability of dentists in the PDS to treat children and special needs groups was being undermined by the huge pressure on them and morale in the service is at an all time low.
“The IDA will continue to defend the role of the Service in providing care for children and special needs groups. But it will also continue to defend the role of the people providing that service. The HSE has a duty of care to its patients but it also has a significant duty of care to the welfare of its employees. It needs to step up and fulfil its obligations to both” Ms O’Callaghan said.
Overall there are 350 dentists working in the Public Dental Service and each year they see over 250,000 children. In addition they care for some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged groups in our society; the elderly and young people in the care of the HSE, those with intellectual, physical and special needs etc.
For Further Information
Contact Kieran Garry
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