Local Dentists Want Electorate to Give Politicians a Drilling

48,000 PRSI workers and 40,000 Medical Card holders in Counties Kilkenny and Carlow are being denied vital dental treatment.

48,000 PRSI workers and 40,000 Medical Card holders in Counties Kilkenny and Carlow are being denied vital dental treatment.

Dentists ask ‘Will your election candidates reinstate your entitlement to dental treatment?’

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) encourages voters in Co. Kilkenny to ask their general election candidates if they will support the reinstatement of the entitlement of PRSI workers and Medical Card holders to dental treatment.

Kilkenny dentist Dr. Roger Ryan said that: “Failure to look after your dental health can have a significant harmful effect on your general health. Make sure you know where your candidates stand on these issues and urge them to reinstate the entitlements you had under the PSRI Dental Scheme or the Medical Card Dental Scheme”.

In its Election 2011 Dental Health Manifesto, the IDA argues that recent cutbacks in Dental Health Services are having devastating impact on patients and cost the State more in the long-run. The manifesto highlights four crisis issues: the stopping of all treatment (except the annual oral examination) under the PRSI Dental Scheme; the restriction of treatment under the Medical Card Dental Scheme to emergency dental care; the closure of clinics, non-screening of children and long delays for patients due to non-filling of critical vacancies in the Public Dental Service; the failure to fill the vacant Chief Dental Officer post, meaning that there has been no development of oral health policy in Ireland.

Dr. Ryan said that: “We are calling on all of the political parties to let people know what plans they have in relation to dental services and we are urging the new Government to examine the cuts to dental services made in recent times their reinstatement”.

Dr. Ryan outlined the devastating impact that the severe cuts in the State’s two dental treatment schemes are having on patients all over the country: “48,000 PRSI workers in Counties Kilkenny and Carlow are being denied their entitlement to treatment despite paying increased social insurance charges and 40,000 medical card holders are not receiving the treatment they need, beyond emergency treatment, because of cutbacks to the Medical Card Dental Scheme”.

In 2009, 730,000 people in Ireland visited their dentist under the PRSI Dental Scheme and availed of 1.3 million treatments. Up to the end of October this year, there was a 45% reduction in the number of people claiming under this scheme and a drop of 700,000 in the number of treatments provided. For older patients, the scheme provided dentures. These are now only allowed in what the HSE states are “emergency circumstances”.

The IDA Dental Health Manifesto also urges the appointment of Chief Dental Officer as a matter of priority, and the exemption of the Public Dental Service from the HSE’s moratorium on recruitment.