Thursday, 9 September 2021
Department of Health
1381. To ask the Minister for Health the measures that are being put in place to ensure that medical card holders have access to services under the dental treatment scheme; if his attention has been drawn to the increasing difficulties that medical card holders have in accessing services and treatment given that a significant number of dental practices are opting out of the scheme; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [42645/21]
Dentists must give three months' notice of withdrawal from the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS). I expect dentists to continue to honour their ethical and contractual obligations to patients, including during their notice period, to provide a service or to ensure that patients are referred to another dentist who will provide a service. HSE local services will assist anyone experiencing problems in accessing a service.
The DTSS makes available the following dental treatments to medical card holders: Oral examination; Prophylaxis (scale and polish); Restorations (fillings); Exodontics (extractions); Surgical extractions; Miscellaneous (e.g. control of haemorrhage); Endodontics (root canal therapy); Apicectomy (amputation of roots); Protracted periodontal (gum) treatment; Radiographs; Prosthetics (dentures). These treatments are provided by independent dental practitioners who have a contract with the HSE. Some are available on demand, for example, all medical card holders may avail of specific dental treatments e.g., a dental examination, two fillings in each calendar year, extractions, as necessary.
The remaining care provision is subject to the prior approval of a dental surgeon in the HSE, who prioritises for high risk and exceptional patients; those requiring emergency care and patients considered to have greater clinical urgency and/or necessity in receiving care.