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News / April 19, 2010

Two-thirds of dentists experiencing a downturn in business

by Guy Hiscott

According to a new survey, two-thirds of dentists in Ireland are seeing fewer patients than they did a year ago.

The results show that 35% of dentists say the number of patients has decreased a lot, while another 33% claim to have experienced a more moderate decline in numbers.

Further, nearly half of the dentists surveyed said they had reduced their fees for the most common treatment items such as examinations, fillings and extractions.

Unsurprisingly, the reduction in patient numbers and fees has led to a decline in dentists’ income, with 72% of respondents claiming their income has suffered a 25% reduction.

The survey also revealed that 70% of respondents expect to see their income decrease further in the next 12 months.

Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the Irish Dental Association (IDA), said the findings highlighted the impact on patients of recent and planned cutbacks to the medical card and the PRSI schemes.

Mr Hourihan also mentioned that the IDA has been inundated with queries from dentists about reduced working hours for staff, temporary layoffs and redundancies as they strive to stay in business.

The survey was conducted among members of the Irish Dental Association by independent market research company, Behaviour & Attitudes.