04 Dec 2021

Tipperary TD says dental service in county has 'collapsed'

Tipperary TD says dental service in county has 'collapsed'

Tipperary TD says dental service in county has 'collapsed'

Tipperary Sinn Féin TD Martin Browne has expressed alarm at what he described as the "collapse in dental services for Tipperary" in the last two years.

He said that dentists had said that this had reached crisis point as waiting lists for dental and orthodontic treatments soar and dentists drop out of medical card scheme in record numbers.

“The collapse in dental services for Tipperary, north and south, is at crisis point. More than 11% of dentists in the north Tipperary / east Limerick area and 26% in the south Tipperary area have left the medical card dental scheme in the last five years," he said.

Deputy Browne said that the crisis was underlined in the collapse in spending on dental treatment in north Tipperary / east Limerick by 25% and by a reduction in south Tipperary of 28%.

The Irish Dental Association highlighted their concerns recently in the Health Committee, stating that difficulty in accessing dental treatment contributes to poor oral health and greater healthcare costs.

“The burden of this disproportionately falls on lower income groups, especially those who rely on medical cards. Dentists have expressed ethical as well as practical concerns about unilateral cuts to the dental scheme imposed during austerity. This devastated dentists’ ability to deliver quality care to medical card patients," said the Cashel TD.

Deputy Browne said that the HSE dental and orthodontic waiting lists continued to spiral out of control, with more than 1,335 people waiting more than two years for orthodontic services in the South East and 840 in the Mid-West. Some 811 are waiting more than four years in the South East and 328 in the Mid-West.

“The number of patients seen by HSE Oral Health in the north Tipperary / east Limerick area collapsed last year by 82% and by 61% in South Tipperary. Care delayed is care denied and the crisis in health continues to get worse under this Government," he said.

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