Sinn Féin TD for Dublin Mid-West Mark Ward has called on the HSE to develop contingency plans to provide dental screening for Children in primary school Teachta Ward received a response to a parliamentary question that showed a 63% decrease in dental screening nationally in 2020.
Teachta Ward said:
“Prior to Covid we have seen reports from The Irish Dental Association (IDA) that stated an increasing number of children are only being offered examination and dental care for the first time at sixth class – instead of at first, second, fourth and sixth classes
“This situation has been exasperated by the impact of Covid. The bar was already set low for dental screening in primary schools and a response to a parliamentary question I received shows a huge decrease in the number of children receiving dental treatment in 2020.
“ There is a 63% decrease in dental screening in primary schools nationally in 2020. This is particularly bad in my own area of Dublin Mid-West, which is covered by CHO 7 which shows a 62% decrease.
“In 2019 there was 25,180 dental screenings carried out in CHO 7, but this dropped to 9,534 in 2020.
“There are strong links between good oral health and good physical health, and it is vital that the HSE develop a contingency plan so children can receive this vital service
“Information I received stated that many dental staff have been redeployed to testing and tracing as part of the HSE response to the pandemic. Surely the HSE could have hired applicants from the Be on Call for Ireland campaign as contact tracers.
“There were 73,000 applicants and less than 1% of these applicants were hired in any capacity.”