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News / August 15, 2013

Give dentists a hand, government urged

by Guy Hiscott

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has called upon the Minister for Health to help financially struggling dentists.

Fintan Hourihan has asked James Reilly to make a move in the right direction and ensuring the restoration of all essential preventive treatments in the next budget.

A survey, carried out between 21 and 31 May 2013 by the IDA, found that 76% of dentists have seen their income fall. The survey’s findings have revealed that of the 276 dentists who had taken part, one out of five dentists had their wage packet decline between 40 and 60%. Two out of five dentists have seen a decrease of 20 to 40%.

Hourihan believes the dramatic drop in income rests on the government’s shoulders.

He said: ‘The huge drop in income is due to the destruction of the two state schemes and a significant drop in visits and treatments by private patients. The medical card scheme, which provided a good basic dental service, is now an emergency only scheme while the only benefit available under the PRSI scheme is an annual dental exam.

‘We have pointed out consistently the very serious repercussions these cutbacks will have on the dental health of the nation but as this survey shows the HSE embargo on hiring new staff, the cuts to the state schemes and the decline in patients’ income have also hit the dental profession extremely hard.’