The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has warned that dental practices could withdraw from the medical card scheme following worries over PPE.

The organisation says a lack of government action has ‘huge consequences’ for people across the country.

CEO Mr Fintan Hourihan said the delay in crucial equipment means dentists are having to reconsider their participation in the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS).

This allows access to certain dental treatments for adults who hold a medical card.

Gravely disappointing

Speaking on Friday (19 June), Mr Hourihan said: ‘Today marks six weeks since acting minister for health Simon Harris promised the provision of adequate personal protective equipment (PPE) to dentists and it is gravely disappointing that we have seen nothing since.

‘This is a dereliction of duty from the government: despite the fact that over 700 dentists have registered their need for such equipment, none has been provided which will have huge consequences for Irish people.’

He said the ‘vast majority’ of dental practices have suffered ‘significant shortfalls’ as a result of COVID-19.

He added: ‘Our members will endeavour to ensure the safe delivery of dental care to medical card patients, but they cannot do so in a manner which imperils the viability of their practices and livelihoods.

‘We believe the department’s actions could cause many thousands of patients being directed to seek dental care directly from the HSE dental services.’