Michael Staines
Michael Staines

15.41 9 Jun 2021


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Medical card patients are being turned away from dentists due to the HSE cyber attack.

On Lunchtime Live this afternoon, caller Martina said her sister has been refused a medical card appointment with her dentists due to the attack.

She said her sister has an intellectual disability and is not comfortable attending a different dentist.

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She is now on a waiting list for an appointment that will not be covered under the medical card system.

Also on the show, The CEO of the Irish Dental Association (IDA) Fintan Hourihan said the attack means dentists can no longer tell what treatments patients are eligible for under the scheme.

“Medical card patients are entitled to a certain number of treatments,” he said.

“So, for example, they are entitled to two fillings in the year. Now, the problem with the lack of access to the Dental Eligibility Checker system is a dentist wouldn’t know whether a patient had already been to a different dentist.

“There is a lot of confusion and uncertainty around, where the dentist agrees to see a patient and provides them with treatment, some dentists are concerned they might be left without any payment.

“That is purely a function of the difficulties caused by the cyberattack.”

He said the medical card scheme for dentists is badly in need of replacement and noted that there has been a mass exodus of dentists from it in recent years.

“Dentists are unhappy with the lack of supports they were given throughout the pandemic. They were made promises by the Department of Health which haven’t been honoured. The department recognises that there is a need for a brand-new scheme and has done nothing about it.

We have been waiting for them to actually pick up the phone and contact us to actually discuss this and It is obviously something we have been looking for, for many years.”

Ne noted that patients are not tied down to one dentist under the scheme and can go to a different surgery if they are refused an appointment.


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