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News / August 7, 2020

IDA slam government for PPE shortcomings

by Gaby Bissett

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has slammed the government for its shortcomings in honouring PPE commitments

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has slammed the government for its shortcomings in honouring PPE commitments.

The organisation is calling out the former Minister for Health, Simon Harris, for failing to deliver PPE to dentists within the promised 12-week time frame.

The commitment was made at a meeting with the IDA, which took place on Friday 8th May. Now, the association is asking for a meeting with the new Minister for Health to put across its concerns.

Difficulties and concerns

Additionally, it is warning that more dentists are voicing plans to withdraw from the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS). This delivers dental care to medical card holders.

President-elect of the IDA, Dr Anne O Neill, said last week: ‘Patients and their oral health are being directly impacted by the continuing fall out from the COVID-19 crisis.’

She said there are three problems affecting patient care:

  • It is more difficult for patients to get appointments as dentists have had to reduce the number of patients each day by up to one third
  • Costs for patients and dentists alike are increasing as dentists face increased costs for PPE. They also face increased costs for additional COVID-related processes like enhanced environmental cleaning
  • Medical card patients are finding it harder to find a dentist who still provides care via the DTSS.

No alternative support

Dr O Neill added: ‘The former Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD, explicitly agreed to supply PPE to dentists when the IDA met with him on Friday 8th May.

‘However that promise has not yet been honoured. No alternative support for the additional COVID-related processes have been put forward by the department. The new minister is yet to meet with the IDA to hear our concerns about the impact of the crisis on patients seeking dental care.’

This comes as the Irish government decided to delay the country’s move into phase four of its COVID recovery plan. As a result, pubs and hotel bars will remain shut.

Additionally, the move would have allowed gatherings of up to 500 people in outdoor spaces.

Current rules allow for a maximum of 50 people to meet indoors and 200 people to meet outdoors.