The HSE is failing children by not providing them with their statutory entitlement of routine dental screening in schools, says a Laois TD.
According to Brian Stanley, the total amount of sixth class pupils in Laois and Offaly that are awaiting a routine check-up is 2,872.
In Laois, there are 1,560 children with 1,312 in Offaly. This compares with an all-time high of 2,507 last March. This has been an increase of 365 children.
The Sinn Fein Deputy said: “Children are not getting their first assessment until they attend secondary school.
“I am aware that some are waiting up to the age of 14 years and older and are in second year in Post Primary School. Nationally there are 100,000 children waiting on appointments.
“The Minister and the HSE need to accept that this scheme is broken. The absence of treatment for children will lead to far more serious dental and general health issues in later life.
“The situation for Adults with medical cards trying to get treatment under the DTSS is no better.
“This scheme has totally collapsed in County Laois with only 1 dental practice doing any work under the scheme, but they will not accept any new medical card patients. There were 8 dentists in Laois in the scheme this time last year.
“This means there is no service available for those medical card patients to get treatment. Private dentists across the country have left the scheme in droves.
“We are informed that the Government and the Irish Dental Association are currently in negotiations, but agreement appears to be elusive.
“The Government and the HSE now need to face the reality that a number of directly employed dentists need to be recruited by the HSE. Good dentists will only be attracted with the offer of permanent posts.’’
“I’m calling on the Minister and the CEO of the HSE to recognise the reality that our dental services have regressed and that 40 years ago there very much better.”