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News / July 13, 2010

Dentists warn D

by Guy Hiscott

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has told a Dáil Committee that the Health Service Executive’s (HSE) actions in relation to the Medical Card Scheme have caused chaos, confusion and hardship for 1.6m dental patients throughout Ireland.

Representatives from the IDA made their submission to the Joint Committee on Health and Children today [13 July].

The Association told the Committee that the suffering the HSE has caused was entirely avoidable.

Speaking of the HSE circular issued on 27 April 2010, the IDA representatives said: ‘No notice period was provided to patients. No notice period was provided to dentists who hold a contract with the HSE. Since that date no clarity has been provided to the patients, the participating dentists or the HSE’s own staff on the measures outlined in the circular’.

Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the IDA, said: ‘Poor oral health and failure to treat leads to the development of more complicated problems, the treatment of which is generally more complex and more costly. So the slash and burn approach applied by the HSE to the Medical Card Scheme makes no financial sense, as well as being an indictment of our care for the less well off in society.’

Mr Hourihan went on to state the IDA was calling on the HSE to suspend the circular with immediate effect, engage with the IDA and review alternative sources of funding.

‘That is the route map out of the present chaos and we need to act now before lasting damage is done to the dental health of the one-third of the population who are medical card holders,’ concluded Mr Hourihan.

In its submission to the Joint Committee, the IDA included a sample of cases reported by dentists since the end of April.

The full IDA submission and examples of how patients are being adversely affected is available by emailing