Dentists call for govt intervention to help recruitment

The newly elected President of the Irish Dental Association says the Government must intervene in the recruitment and retention of public dentists before crisis point is reached.

Dr Caroline Robins is also calling for urgent reform of the medical card scheme which she says is no longer fit for purpose.

She was speaking in advance of the association’s AGM which opens in Galway later today.

The Irish Dental Association says clinical practices are overwhelmed with soaring patient numbers and recruitment of associate dentists, hygienists and nurses is at an all time low.

Dr Robins says the two dental schools in University College Cork and Trinity College Dublin do not produce an adequate number of dentists to meet demand.

Of the 200 annual graduates, approximately 70 remain in the workforce.

The association is also calling for a radical overhaul of the medical card scheme, which has been described as a two-tier system that is unethical and limits what materials can be used while treating medical card patients.

It is estimated that less than 700 dentists remain on the scheme.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly recently allocated an additional €10 million to the scheme with the re-introduction of scale and polish treatments for medical card holders and a raising of fees for contracted dentists.



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