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News / October 6, 2009

Public dental services labelled

by Guy Hiscott

Special needs patients are facing waits of over a year for dental treatment, Dr Jane Renehan, the incoming President of the Public Dental Surgeons, has warned.

Speaking today, Dr Renehan described the current staffing levels among public dental surgeons employed by the HSE as ‘abysmal’.

Dr Renehan went on to say: ‘When every working day is an exercise in crisis management, there’s something wrong with the system. I would suggest we are employing less than half of the public dental surgeons we need even for a basic level of service and, because of the scarcity of specialist anaesthetic services, we’re looking at delays of over a year for many special needs patients seeking dental treatment in different parts of the country.’

The problems encountered by these patients are becoming more critical as time goes on, because vacancies are not being filled. At the same time, greater numbers of dental surgeons are leaving the service as a result of difficult working conditions and limited resources.

Dr Renehan was speaking in advance of the Public Dental Surgeons Group annual seminar, which starts tomorrow in Wexford.