Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Department of Health
474. To ask the Minister for Health if he will request increased funding in budget 2021 to ensure the oral hygiene and dental sector is supported in the form of enhanced subsidies for general medical services, GMS, and PRSI patients and increase tax reliefs for private patients; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29790/20]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 474 and 524 together.
The Dental Treatment Services Scheme provides dental treatments to medical card holders. Services are provided by independent practitioners who have contracts with the HSE. Services currently available annually, without prior approval of the local HSE Principal Dental Surgeon, include an examination, two fillings and emergency extractions. Other more complex care is also provided some of which requires prior approval by a Principal Dental Surgeon. Patients with special needs and high risk patients can avail of a broader range of treatments including a scale and polish on approval of the Principal Dental Surgeon.
Smile agus Sláinte, the National Oral Health Policy, published by my Department in April 2019, sets out the new model of care delivery for dental services. The timeframe for the delivery of the Policy, which will be rolled out incrementally, is up to 2026. As the Deputy will appreciate, I cannot comment at this stage on the outcome of the estimates process, or matters which will be the subject of national service planning in 2021.
The Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme comes under the remit of the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. Eligibility for this Scheme is based on a person's PRSI contributions. Tax reliefs come under the remit of the Minister for Finance.