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‘I swear to God to pull the tooth…’

by Edited by Jimmy Rhatigan

FINE GAEL TD John Paul Phelan was to the point when he said he was delighted that Health Minister Stephen Donnelly had committed to a ‘root and branch’ review of the Dental Treatment Services Scheme.

A root and tooth review might have been more apt but in fairness there was nothing false about JP’s reference to teeth, dentures or home-grown.

Phelan was welcoming new measures to provide expanded dental healthcare services for medical card holders.

He opined that the review would end pain and waiting time for many of our most vulnerable. 


“It is the Minister’s intention to align the Scheme with the National Oral Health Policy. Pending that review, his immediate priority will be to address issues facing medical card patients in accessing treatment,” Phelan added.

Donnelly approved an increase in the fees payable to contracted dentists for examinations and fillings, a move which should make it more appealing to practitioners. 

He also approved the reintroduction of cleaning (Scale and Polish) for medical card patients. 

“The proposals are designed to address not only issues around services for medical card patients, but also the concerns expressed by dentists about the viability of the scheme as a whole,” Phelan concluded.

It all brings to mind the mythical dental oath: ‘I swear to Almighty God to pull the tooth, the full tooth and nothing but the tooth.’

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