Fewer Dentists offering services through scheme

There’s been an almost 25% fall in the number of Dentists claiming reimbursement through the Dental Treatment Services Scheme since December 2020.

The scheme provides access to dental treatment for medical card holders. However there has been concern for some time over its viability, with a growing number of dentists exiting the scheme.

The figures were provided to Sinn Féin, by the Health Service Executive, through written parliamentary questions.

Earlier this year the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced an expansion of services provided under the Dental Treatment Services Scheme, as well as an increase in fees payable to dentists.

Mr Donnelly also committed to a review of the scheme, amid concern that its viability is under threat.

However, such a review has yet to begin, and new figures show a continued fall in the number of dentists offering services through the scheme.

Back in December 2020, the HSE began to record the number of reimbursement claims from dentists each month.

Since that date, the number of claims has consistently fallen, representing a 25% decline overall.

The number of dentists taking out contracts under the scheme has also fallen by 23% since January 2019. The number of contracts fell from 1,489 to 1,146.

Sinn Féin’s Health spokesperson David Cullinane was provided the figures through written parliamentary questions.

He said that “in the absence of a new negotiated contract, as called for by the Irish Dental association”, more and more dentists will continue to opt out of the scheme.


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