Sinn Féin spokesperson on Health David Cullinane TD has expressed shock at new figures obtained by Parliamentary Question, which show that there were only 660 dentists active on the medical card Dental Treatment Services Scheme in January 2022, 1,000 fewer than 2017.
Teachta Cullinane reiterated his call on the Minister for Health to show leadership and sit down with dentists to fix the contract and deliver a fit for purpose scheme.
Teachta Cullinane said:
“There are now 1,000 fewer dentists active on the Dental Treatment Services scheme than in 2017.
“The number of dentists on the scheme has fallen from 1,660 in 2017 to only 660 active dentists in January 2022.
“The Dental Treatment Services Scheme is essential for older people and low-income families to make sure they can get access to oral healthcare.
“But now it is collapsing as dentists withdraw at a rate of knots because the contract is not fit for purpose.
“Dentists on the scheme cannot cover their costs and now medical card holders cannot access any treatment.
“As it stands, the scheme is supervised negligence – you can have as many extractions as you need, but only two fillings, which leads to tooth loss instead of saving teeth.
“The Minister needs to work with dentists to get dentists back, to fix the fees on the scheme, and to modernise the contract to open up preventative treatments available to public patients.”