Government Must Address Dental Programme Decay says Daly

Kerry Sinn Féin TD Pa Daly has expressed his disappointment in seeing spending on the Dental Treatment Services Scheme drop in the Kerry area by almost half between 2017 and 2020.

Sinn Féin TD for Kerry Pa Daly has said that he is disappointed, but not surprised, to see spending on the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) in the Kerry area drop by 48% between 2017 and 2020.

This was the highest decrease in the State representing a decrease of €1.2m in how much the Government is spending on dental services for people with medical cards.

Teachta Daly said that this represents an astonishing loss of services to those on medical cards in Kerry.

No Salaried HSE Dentists

The DTSS provides dental examination, extractions, and a limited root canal service to those on medical cards and is relied upon by almost 70,000 people in the county.

Clearly, it is not working. Large areas of the county, in particular in South Kerry are without salaried HSE dentists. This too needs to change.

Lack of Government Investment

This week’s meeting of the Oireachtas Health Committee, chaired by my colleague Seán Crowe, heard about the terrible conditions that dentists and their patients are forced into by the lack of Government investment in the service.

People on medical cards are only entitled to root canals on the front six teeth, but none at the back. The Government has literally put a price tag on people’s back teeth. It is little wonder that dentists are leaving the service in their droves after being denied any meaningful support by the Government.

People Without Dental Cover

This loss of dentists from the scheme means hundreds of people are without any dental cover under the scheme in their area and lack access to the necessary work to improve their dental health.

The DTSS must be radically overhauled and expanded. I am calling on the Government to work with the Irish Dental Association to see how we can keep dentists in the system and provide real dental care for those who need it.”

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