Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Health
The Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) provides dental care free of charge to medical card holders aged 16 and over. These services are provided by over 1,400 independent dental practitioners who have a contract with the HSE. I understand that since the beginning of March, 155 dentists have withdrawn from the DTSS and that 50 new applications are being processed. I expect due process to be followed in respect of any withdrawal from the terms of a DTSS contract, in particular regarding an appropriate period of notice. I also expect dentists to continue to honour their ethical and contractual obligations to patients during the notice withdrawal period, to either provide a service or to ensure that patients are referred to another dentist who will provide a service. The HSE will assist medical card holders in accessing such treatment, if required.
I am aware of the difficulties that the current Covid-19 pandemic poses for the dental profession. My Department, in conjunction with the HSE, is examining the issue of the provision of PPE across all parts of the health service, including health service contractors.