154,973 registered members
State dental scheme 'near collapse'
[Posted: Tue 12/08/2008 www.irishhealth.com]
Medical Card patients seeking dental treatment are facing longer delays as a result of the near collapse of the state scheme for dental treatment, according to the Irish Dental Association (IDA).
Fintan Hourihan, Chief Executive Officer of the IDA, said 190 dentists have now withdrawn from the scheme (out of 1,400) as a result of increasing frustration with underfunding of the service by the HSE.
According to Mr Hourihan, withdrawals by dentists means that medical card patients are having to wait longer to be seen by dentists and in some instances they may not be able to see their dentist at all.
He said the problems with the scheme arose from its neglect by the HSE and the refusal of the HSE to negotiate on reform of the scheme with the IDA.
The IDA claims the HSE and the Department of Health are refusing to sit down with the IDA to address the issue and agree a resolution.
The HSE, in response, said it is satisfied that there are sufficient dentists currently operating within the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) to meet demand.
The HSE said that on legal advice, it is precluded from negotiating with the Irish Dental Association on the fee element of the DTSS review, under the Competition Act.
"We are currently awaiting clarification how the overall review can be progressed."
The HSE acknowledged that dentists have withdrawn from the DTSS scheme – however, a substantial number of new contracts have also been agreed.
"On that basis, any overall reduction in the number of dentists operating under the DTSS scheme has been relatively small."
The HSE said it not been alerted to delays currently being encountered by GMS patients as suggested today by the Irish Dental Association.
|To join the discussion, register by clicking here|