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News / October 8, 2009

Public Dental Surgeons Group to ballot members

by Guy Hiscott

Public dental surgeons are to be balloted to decide on taking action, including industrial action, in the event that the HSE makes further unilateral changes to their terms and conditions of employment or undermines the standard of care available through the service to patients.

The decision to ballot members was taken yesterday by National Committee of the Public Dental Surgeons Group of the Irish Dental Association in emergency session at the annual seminar, which is currently taking place in Wexford.

There are fewer than 200 dental surgeons employed in the public service despite the target of 350 full-time equivalent employees identified as necessary in 1999 when the population was significantly smaller.

The Group says the ballot will also highlight the continuing disregard of the HSE for normal consultation with affected dental surgeons on reforms which impact on their areas of responsibility.

Speaking at the annual seminar, incoming president of the Public Dental Surgeons Group, Dr Jane Renehan, said that the public dental surgeons had been forced to ballot their members on industrial action because of the failure of the HSE to respond reasonably to their requests for consultation and co-operation.

She added: ‘We can no longer stand by while our patients are subjected to intolerable delays and pain due to the inadequate resourcing of this service. We intend to stand up – not for ourselves – but for our marginalised patients and ensure that a spotlight is shone on the problems which HSE indifference is causing them.’