Concerns raised over dental services for medical card holders

Ongoing issues relating to the availability of dental services for local medical card holders were addressed at Monday’s meeting of Roscommon County Council.

  A number of councillors said they had been contacted by medical card holders who were unable to access treatment at dental practices in the county.

  It comes after Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly announced recently that he would be carrying out a “root and branch review” of the Dental Treatment Services Scheme and that he hoped to see an increase in the number of dentists offering treatment to medical card patients.

  Cllr. Tony Ward said that people were “suffering in silence” and proposed writing a letter to Minister to “keep the pressure on”.

  “The HSE state that the medical card covers dental treatments but dentists are entitled to accept or reject these patients,” he said.

  “People who need dental treatment but who do not have the funds (to pay for it) are suffering in silence. It’s unfortunate that this is happening…one arm of the State is granting medical cards but a lot of dentists aren’t doing the work”.

  Cllr. Emer Kelly said she had also been contacted by a number of card holders in relation to the issue, while Cllr. Orla Leyden said: “It’s not acceptable that you would have to travel outside the county (to receive treatment),” and suggested a Primary Care service similar to that offered to children.

  Cllr. John Keogh said that while he supported Cllr. Ward, the Minister for Health was currently working on the issue and that a review would soon be underway.

  Cllr. John Naughten said it was unacceptable that the situation had been allowed to ensue.

  “I hope the outcome (of the Minister’s review) is that dentists with private practices take public patients…this needs to be addressed urgently,” he said.