‘Crisis’ in Laois medical card dental care

There’s only one dentist in Laois registered to treat medical card patients, it has been revealed.

Laois Offaly TD Carol Nolan says the “crisis” in accessing dentists who provide services to medical card holders in Laois Offaly has deepened over the course of the last number of months.

She was speaking after Chief Officer of the HSE’s Midlands Louth Meath Community Health Organisation, Des O’Flynn, confirmed to her that as of March 2022, the number of dentists registered to treat patients under the Dental Treatment Service Scheme (DTSS) scheme is ten in Offaly and just one in Laois.

Mr O’Flynn previously confirmed to Deputy Nolan in October 2021, that there were only forty-eight remaining practices within the Dental Treatment Services Scheme across the entire Midlands region, with thirteen of these operating within counties Laois and Offaly.

“The provision of dental care to medical card holders in this state is in absolute freefall,” Deputy Nolan said.

“The situation in Laois is particularly acute however with just one service provider for medical card holders remaining. That is the clearest indication yet that something has gone profoundly and radically wrong with the entire system,” she remarked. 

“What is even more alarming is the fact that the HSE has also confirmed to me that there are no new applications being processed to join the DTSS for the HSE dental midlands area,” she added. 

Deputy Nolan said “this is an intolerable situation for medical card holders and indeed all those who urgently need to access a dentist for urgent treatment.What I find absolutely appalling however is that there seems to be no sense of genuine urgency around this issue from Government.” 

She said: “Government must wake up to the full-blown emergency that now exists in this area and act immediately to engage with the likes of the Irish Dental Association and others to try and create a pathway forward that will bring confidence back to the Scheme for dental practitioners.”

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