Jack Quann
Jack Quann

19.32 8 May 2020


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The Irish Dental Association (IDA) says its members urgently need assistance from the State, and that the profession cannot deal with COVID-19 on its own.

The association met with Health Minister Simon Harris earlier, for what it described as "a constructive engagement".

It followed serious concerns over the impact that the coronavirus has had on the profession.

A further meeting is to take place next week.

The IDA said it wanted to explain the scale of the current crisis and the need for a financial assistance package from the State for dentists.

It also spoke about the lack of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) being made available to dentists, and about access to the HSE’s emergency dental centres.

Following the meeting, CEO of the IDA Fintan Hourihan said: "For weeks, the IDA has voiced its serious concerns to the Government over the state of dentistry in Ireland during the COVID-19 crisis, so we welcome this engagement with Minister Harris.

"Dentists will be keen to now see a comprehensive response from the Government."

Mr Hourihan said dentists needed to be able to plan for the future with some certainty.

"We made clear to the minister that the dental profession cannot deal with COVID-19 on its own and urgently needs assistance from the State, otherwise we will see the collapse of the two State dental schemes."

In a survey of 329 private dentists around Ireland published this week, 87% said they are unlikely or very unlikely to return to pre-pandemic levels of service.

While nearly 80% reported a high or very high risk to the sustainability of their practice.

And 93% predicted a drop in income of at least 40% in medium to long term - with over 50% predicting an income drop of over 80%.

The IDA is a representative body for 2,000 dentists, both public and private, practising in Ireland.

Main image: A dentist examines x-Ray results. Picture by: Matthew Fearn/PA Archive/PA Images

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