Written Answers. - Dental Treatment Services.

Seamus Brennan

Question:

123 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Health the plans, if any, he has to expand the dental treatment services scheme; the expected termination date for the initial phase of the scheme as outlined in newspaper advertisements when the scheme was launched; the amount provided for the scheme in each year since it was launched; the percentage of expenditure on dental services that this scheme represents; the expected level of expansion with particular reference to the age groups covered; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1758/96]

Limerick East): The dental treatment services scheme commenced on 1 November 1994. In the initial phase of the scheme emergency dental treatment was made available to all adults with medical card entitlement and routine dental treatment and priority full denture treatment was made available to persons 65 years of age or older with medical card entitlement. The amounts provided for the scheme in each year since the scheme was launched and these amounts expressed as a percentage of total expenditure on dental services are as follows:

Amount Provided for scheme

As a % of total health expenditure on dental services

£m

%

1994

0.57

2

1995

6.8

20

A total of £8.8 million is provided for the scheme in 1996.
It is my intention to introduce the second phase of the scheme on 1 April 1996. Under the second phase routine dental treatment will be extended to persons with medical card entitlement in the 16 to 34 year age group and full denture treatment will now be extended to all edentulous persons with medical card entitlement. Under the second phase of the scheme routine dental treatment will be extended to an additional 277,000 persons with medical card entitlement and priority full denture treatment will be extended to an additional 650,000 persons with similar entitlement. It is my intention to continue to develop the dental services as necessary and the pace of this development will depend on the availability of funding from year to year.