Carrick dental staff allocation will fail to address oral health demands

Cllr Dunne said:
“After making enquiries of the HSE we have been told that the provision of dental services at Carrick-
on-Suir Primary Care Centre are scheduled to begin on March 28th.
“The staffing complement will consist of a dental surgeon (0.8 whole time equivalent) and a dental
nurse (1.0 whole time equivalent).

“To provide a community of 6,000 people with a dental surgeon for only 4-days a week and a single
dental nurse for five days a week is a far cry from ensuring there is adequate access to dental
services for the people of Carrick-on-Suir.

“This is not a responsible attitude to take to the oral health of the public.
“Only this week we have heard the Irish Dental Association saying the current medical card scheme
is Victorian in its approach.
“Now we see that the HSE is not even able or prepared to provide anywhere near the dental cover
that the people of Carrick-on-Suir need.
“This will continue to force people to go private as the level of need in the locality will not be met.
And for those who cannot afford to do so because of the cost-of-living crisis, emergency extractions
will increase, and the public’s oral health will deteriorate.

Teachta Browne said:
“I have been in regular contact with the Health Minster in relation to the Dental Treatment Services
Scheme, otherwise known as the dental medical card.
“He has told me that he ‘has given a commitment to a substantive review of the Scheme’. Yet
nothing is happening.

“Only this week we have heard the Irish Dental Association say that it is their understanding that just
750 dentists are treating medical card patients, and that this amounts to less than half the number
of DTSS contracts held by dentists two years ago.

“Our children are also being failed. As of December 2021, a total 635 primary school children in
South Tipperary were awaiting dental check-ups that were due in 2019.
“This cannot all be laid at the door of Covid, given that prior to the pandemic, reports from The Irish
Dental Association (IDA) stated that 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.

“So, with the poor level of dental services to be provided at Carrick-on-Suir Primary Care Centre, the
Minister for Health must complete the review of the DTSS he has committed to and must listen to
the calls of the Irish Dental Association or the crisis will deepen further.”