Seanad debates

Thursday, 8 February 2024

Nithe i dtosach suíonna - Commencement Matters

Dental Services

9:30 am

Photo of Mary ButlerMary Butler (Waterford, Fianna Fail) | Oireachtas source

I welcome the students from Gaelscoil Eoin. They are very welcome into the Seanad. It is lovely to see them. They are very well behaved - their teachers must be delighted. I am sure there will be no homework as a result of that.

The Senator raised some valid concerns and I think he hit the nail on the head. A couple of years ago when I was representing Ireland in Brussels on St. Patrick’s Day, I met the minister for health there. It was interesting; we were in the middle of Covid but his main concern at the time was dentistry and the shortage of it. That was his main focus. We are seeing that all across Europe now. The Senator made the points of trying to support people to move to more rural locations. It is a valid question.

On the Senator’s own area, orthodontic figures are available for the HSE south orthodontic subregion. The most recent figures from Cork and Kerry show that 860 patients had their orthodontic needs assessed in the first half of 2023 while 1,937 patients were in active treatment in the HSE. Notwithstanding that, there is quite a long waiting list, with 2,900 patients waiting on an assessment at the end of June and 2,600 patients waiting to start treatment. Even though many people are receiving treatment, many are waiting. It is an important time.

I will bring what the Senator raised back to the Minister. He is right about the bigger picture and encouraging professionals into specific areas.


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