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News / April 12, 2013

Hygienists warn against job losses as tax bills soar

by Guy Hiscott

The Irish Dental Hygienists Association (IDHA) has urged dentists not to respond to new employment rulings by cutting the provision of hygienists in their practice.
As of 1 January this year, Revenue has considered hygienists and associates as practice employees, rather than self-employed contractors, assessing tax accordingly.
The IDHA is concerned that the move will result in many hygienists losing their jobs and have a detrimental effect on patients’ oral health. Practices would be better suited employing hygienists rather than cutting them out entirely, the association has said.
Donna Paton, a practising hygienist and journal editor at the IDHA called for principals to remember the importance of the hygienist’s role in the team.
It’s important that everyone remembers the benefits of having a dental hygienist working in the practice,’ she said. ‘The dental hygienist is a registered primary health care professional, oral health educator, and clinician – who as co-therapist with the dentist can provide preventive, educational and therapeutic services that help control oral diseases and promote oral health.
‘The right hygienist can enhance your practice as a front line educator who empowers patients to a lifetime of dental health.
If you’re having concerns about whether to make your hygienist an employee, take a minute to think about what an important part of the team they can be.’