Written Answers. - Dental Services.

Brendan Kenneally

Question:

78 Mr. Kenneally asked the Minister for Health if he intends to make dentures available to patients under 65 years of age who have a medical card; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17941/95]

,Limerick East): Under the dental treatment services scheme introduced by my Department on 1 November 1994 dental treatment will be extended to all adults with medical card eligibility on a phased basis.

In the initial phasing of the scheme persons aged 65 years and over have been identified as a priority group and additional resources have been made available to health boards to enable them provide dental treatment, including denture treatment, for this group. Emergency dental treatment for the relief of pain is, of course, available under the dental treatment services scheme to all medical card holders irrespective of age.

However, where their existing resources allow, health boards will continue to provide routine dental treatment to adults who have not yet reached 65 years.

All health boards also operate a priority waiting list for dental treatment for medically compromised persons who are given priority irrespective of age on production of a letter from their general medical practitioner.

The question of introducing the next phase of the dental treatment services scheme is being considered in the context of the Estimates for 1996.