Louth TD Imelda Munster stresses urgency of dental treatment services program reform

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Sinn Féin TD for Louth and East Meath Imelda Munster has criticized the government’s lack of urgency in reforming the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS).

a DTSS gives medical card holders access to dental care, a scheme it says has been in crisis for more than a year and a half.

Figures reveal that 311 dentists have left the scheme since 2020, while around 1,000 dentists have left the scheme since 2017.

Throughout this period, 49 dentists left the program in Louth and Meath during this period, with medical card holders finding it virtually impossible to access dental services in Drogheda and other areas of Louth and East Meath.

Deputy Munster said: ‘It’s been going on for over a year and a half now. Although there is a commitment between the Department of Health and dentists to get the system back up and running, the time it takes shows that this government is not prioritizing this issue.

“I also recognize that the Minister of Health has allocated additional emergency funds to the scheme, but the fact is that the whole scheme has collapsed and a complete overhaul of contracts is needed to ensure that people can access dental care.

“Leaving medical card holders without access to dental care is cruel. People with existing diseases need regular check-ups, others suffer or worsen their dental condition due to lack of dental care.

“How long does it take for the government to reform the regime? It is unacceptable that it was ever allowed to collapse, but the delay in getting it back up and running is shocking.

“I can only assume that the government is content to deprive people of dental care. This is the message they send.

“In addition to the failure of the DTSS, in March there were 100,000 children waiting for dental checks in schools. 5000 of these children are in Louth and 6000 in Meath.

“I have written to Minister Donnelly again to ask why he is not addressing this issue urgently and to ask him to ensure that his department makes it a priority. It’s been going on too long now.

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