Latest Laois News: Laois TD deplores waiting times for school dental appointments
Laois and Offaly Dental Services in Crisis – Stanley
Local Sinn Fein TD Brian Stanley said:
“I have been pursuing this matter with the Minister for Health and the HSE to get detailed information and the figures I obtained show that the dental services in the constituency are crisis.’’
“Latest figures obtained from the HSE show there is a 77% reduction in school dental assessments in the constituency since 2019. Just 720 assessments were carried out last year compared to 3154 in 2019 and 4354 in 2017. The drop in school dental assessment across the State is 63%.
The waiting list for routine dental treatment for 6th class pupils in Laois/Offaly is at an all time high with a figure of over 2500 pupils on it. 1336 of these were in Laois while 1171 were in Offaly. There figures are very concerning as they clearly show that children’s oral health is being neglected due to the lack of a proper school dental system.’’
“Separately the number of private Dentists who now accept Medical Card patients in Laois/Offaly has decreased. The breakdown of Dentists accepting patients is as follows:
Under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) Laois has a total of 8 Dentists who are participating in this scheme with Portlaoise having 4, Portarlington 3, and Mountmellick having just 1.
The total number for Offaly is 11. Tullamore have 7, Edenderry 2, with Ferbane and Birr both with 1 Dentist.
Particular problems for medical card patients are arising in Portlaoise and Birr for accessing dental treatments. In 2020 almost one quarter of participating dentists nationwide left the DTSS scheme.
The Irish Dental Association have stated that between 2017 and 2020, State spending on dental care for medical card patients in Laois/ Offaly decreased by 39% from €2,314,476 to €1,413,827.
It is widely accepted that good oral health is important to a person’s overall health. Improvements are needed as a matter of urgency and I and my party intend to follow up with this issue.”