Mass exodus” of dentists from DTSS leaves huge cavity in dental care in Ballymun and Finglas

by Rose Barrett
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Rose Barrett

Independent Dublin City Councillor Noeleen Reilly is calling on the government to offer immediate support for dental practitioners as “the mass exodus” from the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) continues in Finglas and Ballymun.

Cllr Reilly attacked the evolving “two tier” dental care system, following a PQ from Donegal based Thomas Pringle, TD. The latter raised the concerns with the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly, TD following the number of dentists in Ballymun and Finglas who have left the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) since 2019.

Cllr Reilly for Ballymun-Finglas stated: “The communities that I represent in Ballymun and Finglas are highly dependent on the medical card dental scheme to receive dental care,” and noted that eight dentists left the local scheme in recent times, two from Ballymun and six in Finglas.

“Many constituents have approached me over the last year advising that their local dentist does not accept medical cards anymore meaning they will have to source another dentist or pay for dental services.”

There are many families in the area who simply cannot afford to do so, claimed Cllr Reilly who noted the only remaining dental practice in the Ballymun area is not taking any new applicants until next year.

Cllr Noeleen Reilly

“Severe pressure is now being placed on the remaining dentists who will, I fear, also look at their own position.”

She continued: “A lot of people may not realise that the Department of Health only cover a fraction of the cost involved in treating a patient with a medical card, leaving dental practitioners to cover the bulk.

“For an hour’s treatment, it can cost €150 and the Department will only give a refund of €39, It is no wonder dentists are leaving the scheme given the financial pressure this is putting on their practice.”

As a result, the independent councillor stated this has led to a two-tier dental care system in Dublin where those on medical cards cannot get the treatment they need. She called on the Department of Health to intervene immediately to ensure no more dentists leave the scheme and to get back the ones who have left.

“No one in this day and age should be left without the care they need,” she concluded.

“Ongoing negotiations between the Department of Health and the Irish

Dental Association will hopefully bring about some resolution to the ongoing resignations of DTSS

Practitioners”, stated the Department of Health in response to Deputy Pringle’s PQ.

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