Call for dental reforms

The Irish Dental Association is urging the government to reform its troubled medical card scheme and replace it with a new process that is fit for purpose and reflects modern dental practices and standards.

The Irish Dental Association is demanding urgent change as recruitment of dentists is at an all-time low and investment in Irish dental schools is urgently required. 

Dr Caroline Robins, the newly elected President of the IDA, is asking for sweeping reforms within the profession before it reaches crisis point.

ìWe need the government to intervene in the recruitment and retention of public dentists and to invest in the training of dental students,” she says.

The association believes that reform of both the Dentists Act and the state’s medical card scheme is needed to counter the risk of people leaving the profession in even greater numbers.

Dr Robins continues: “The pressure from dental patients will not and cannot be relieved until proper investment is made. We need the government to intervene in the medical card scheme, public dentist recruitment and the training of dental graduates immediately before we reach crisis levels.

“Dental practices are unable to deal with the volume of patients that are arriving at their clinics and recruitment of associate dentists, dental hygienists and dental nurses is at an
all-time low.”

Clinics need to be properly staffed in order to meet the needs of patients and offer the very best to them, she says.

“The two dental schools in UCC and TCD do not produce an adequate number of dentists to meet patient demands. The dental school in Cork has been long promised but not delivered, leading to further anxiety for patients seeking care.

“We have consulted the HSE and Department of Health officials in recent months to pursue the development of a totally new medical card scheme ñ one that meets both the needs of dentists and patients.”

Published: 18 July, 2022 at 09:47