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News / February 17, 2010

PRSI removal causes dental treatment price increase

by Guy Hiscott

Following many reports in the media concerning a rise in dental charges, the Central Statistics Office (CSO) has confirmed that the 12.8% increase reported in January’s consumer price index arose as a result of the removal of PRSI dental treatments.

The confirmation came from the CSO in response to queries from the Irish Dental Association.

The CSO figures relate to the charges paid by patients and do not suggest that dentists have increased their professional fees. The IDA believes that in fact dentists have frozen or reduced their professional fees in recent months.

Speaking about the figures, Fintan Hourihan, Chief Executive of the Irish Dental said that the news confirmed the hidden but seriously detrimental impact of the Government’s decision in December’s Budget.

He said: ‘The decimation of the PRSI scheme is a disgrace. People are being made pay the same level of ‘social insurance’ from their wages but are receiving less in benefits. If a regular insurance company tried it, they would be run out of town but the Government has got away with yet another stealth tax which is set to cause serious damage to the health of the nation.’

Mr Hourihan went on to state that dentists are trying to keep costs as low as possible but that inevitably some of the costs previously borne by Government would end up being borne by patients.

He said: ‘Ironically it is dentists and not the Government who will probably bear the criticism for this but it’s the Government’s fault. The Government must ensure that full PRSI benefits are restored as soon as possible’.