Fine Gael Senator for Dublin South West, Cáit Keane, has today (Wednesday) called for the HSE to provide clarification to patients regarding their entitlements to free dental care. Speaking in the Seanad, the Senator supported calls made earlier this week by the Irish Dental Association for the HSE to promote awareness of dental entitlements among Irish patients.
“The fact is, fewer than 600,000 Irish adults availed of free dental check-ups last year despite 3.3 million being entitled to do so. This is a worrying statistic as it shows that Irish people are not aware of their entitlements in this sense and are not conscientious in terms of dental care.
“While it must be acknowledged that there have been substantial increases in the number eligible for free examinations, figures show that fewer people are availing of them. Expenditure on both the Medical Card Scheme and the PRSI Dental Scheme has also declined, according to the findings of the HSE Annual Report and Financial Statements 2011.
“If a service is free then usually it is oversubscribed. Eight out of ten Irish people are entitled to a free oral exam so it is very alarming that attendance figures are so low. It clearly indicates a lack of information among the general population and the HSE needs to take action to correct this trend by promoting awareness.”