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Minister urged to prevent collapse of Clare public dentistry

THE Minister for Health is being called on to intervene to save public dentistry in county Clare.

A county councillor called on Minister Donnelly to engage with dentists in Clare “to prevent a total collapse” of the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) and to ensure funding is available to boost public dentistry in the county in the coming year.

Councillor Donna McGettigan raised the issue at the monthly meeting of the County Council.

The Shannon councillor outlined, “In Clare there has been a reduction of 46% investment in the DTSS between 2017 and 2021 according to the Irish Dentistry Association.”

She continued, “We are also seeing a reduction of dentists signed up to the DTSS scheme resulting in only 16 dentists enrolled in Clare, leaving many Clare patients unable to access dentist care within this county.

“Lack of access to timely dental care and delaying necessary treatment is economically unviable as what begins as a routine procedure can lead to far more costly and complex intervention being required. The people of Clare need to see this issue resolved.”

Her motion proposing that Clare County Council seeks intervention from the minister was backed by Councillor Ann Norton who commented many families are having difficulties.

“If they haven’t the money they don’t get the treatment,” she said.

She pointed out that many families in Ennis have had children referred to Nenagh for treatment.

“Unfortunately it seems we are the poor relations in Clare when it comes to dentistry work.”

Councillor Gerry Flynn also supported the motion, saying, “It’s all about the haves and have nots. These people do not have the resources to access private dental care. This is a problem and the government need to shape up. People are waiting a huge amount of time.”

Councillor Joe Garrihy stated he has received many representations from people who can’t access the service.

“We need affordable treatment at an early stage to avoid expensive problems down the road.”

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