Written answers

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

Photo of Michael McNamaraMichael McNamara (Clare, Independent)
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161. To ask the Minister for Health when the dental treatment services scheme which was cut back significantly during the financial crisis will be restored given a restoration schedule for funding for general practice has been agreed by Government; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48603/21]

Photo of Stephen DonnellyStephen Donnelly (Wicklow, Fianna Fail)
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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 independent dental practitioners who have a contract with the HSE. In 2010 the range of treatments provided under the Scheme was reduced in order to cap expenditure at the 2008 level of €63 million.

The approach to future oral health service provision will be aligned with Smile agus Sláinte, the National Oral Health Policy (2019). The aim of the policy is to develop a model of care that will enable preventative approaches to be prioritised, improve access, and support interventions appropriate to current and future oral health needs.

The current DTSS is based on outdated approaches from the 1990s and is no longer suitable. I am committed to ensuring the sustainability of the DTSS, but recognise that it needs to be aligned with the best international evidence and practice, as outlined in the new Policy. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the roll-out of the National Oral Health Policy to be delayed, and the proposed review of the DTSS contract to be deferred. Officials in my Department and from the HSE are currently engaging with the Irish Dental Association on matters relating to the provision of services under the DTSS.


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