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News UK & Ireland

Households in Ireland are currently spending just €84.53 per year on their dental care, a 57 per cent fall from 2010. (Photograph: PhotographyByMK/Shutterstock)
0 Comments Jun 28, 2017 | News UK & Ireland

Irish dentists turn on government as private spending reaches new low

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DUBLIN, Ireland: In a letter to Ireland’s new prime minister, Leo Varadkar, the Irish Dental Association (IDA) has called for better funding of public dental services. The demand comes after a recent survey published by the Central Statistics Office in Dublin found that average annual household spending on dental care has almost halved over the last five years.

Consequently, households in Ireland are currently spending just €84.53 on their dental care, a 57 per cent fall from 2010, according to the Office. The last time people in Ireland spent that little on dental care was in the early 2000s.

Alarmed by the figures, IDA CEO Fintan Hourihan said there is need to form a cross-departmental group to devise a response plan that includes measures like expanding the Med 2 system and prioritising a new dental plan. He also suggested increasing investment in existing dental schemes, like Pay Related Social Insurance, and the Health Service Executive appointing extra dentists to cater for vulnerable populations, such as children and special care patients.

“We are seriously concerned about the impact of cuts in household spending on citizen’s dental health,” Hourihan said.

While he admitted the low spending could be due to the recession, among other reasons, he said the government also needed to introduce measures to encourage people to visit the dentist.

“This is not an optional expense. Prevention is cheaper than cure and if we don’t address the issue now we are simply storing up problems for the future,” he explained. “The state will simply have to take a lead.”

According to the IDA, cuts on treatment like those offered under the medical card accounted for almost €500 million less in dental care spending, resulting in 80 per cent of dentistry services in Ireland now being paid out of pocket or through insurance payments.

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