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The IDA said the annual spend on dental treatment for medical-card holders for Cork experienced a fall of 33% in the last three years from €7,836,612.12 in 2017 to €5,256,327.79 in 2020.
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The IDA said the annual spend on dental treatment for medical-card holders for Cork experienced a fall of 33% in the last three years from €7,836,612.12 in 2017 to €5,256,327.79 in 2020.
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IDA claims dental treatment for medical cardholders in 'complete chaos'

The Irish Dental Association has claimed that dental treatment for medical-card holders is in “complete chaos”, warning that the unprecedented number of dentists withdrawing from the “outdated” Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) is having serious repercussions for patients nationwide.

It said that between 2017 and 2020, State spending on dental care for medical-card patients nationwide decreased by 30%, from €5.5m to €3.8m, while the number of DTSS contracts held by dentists nationwide has fallen by 31% between 2015 and 2020, from 1,847 to 1,279.

It said the annual spend on dental treatment for medical-card holders for Cork experienced a fall of 33% in the last three years from €7,836,612.12 in 2017 to €5,256,327.79 in 2020.

Irish Dental Association chief Fintan Hourihan said that the fall in both funding and the number of participating dentists was hugely damaging for patients nationwide.

This is an unprecedented crisis in dentistry. In 2020, almost one-quarter of participating dentists nationwide left this scheme which is utterly unfit for purpose. Dentists simply cannot afford to participate, leading to complete chaos.” 

Mr Hourihan said that significant extra costs being incurred by general dental practices during the Covid-19 pandemic are making the existing DTSS contracted service completely unviable.

“Dentists want to be able to provide care for medical card patients, but the Government is leaving them with little choice but to minimise their involvement or withdraw.”

Because of the drop-off in funding and dentists’ participation, he said that medical card patients were now faced with delays and increased travel times while seeking that treatment, amongst other issues.

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