Written Answers. - Dental Treatment Service.

Dermot Ahern

Question:

76 Mr. D. Ahern asked the Minister for Health the current position regarding the adult dental scheme which is administered by the health boards; the changes, if any, he proposes to make thereto; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8487/96]

Seamus Brennan

Question:

87 Mr. S. Brennan asked the Minister for Health the reason the second phase of the dental treatment services scheme did not commence on 1 April 1996 as indicated in his reply to a parliamentary question by Deputy Mr. S. Brennan on 30 January 1996; his views on whether the funds available to him have been miscalculated or diverted to other projects; if he will make a firm commitment to a date for the beginning of the second phase; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8624/96]

, Limerick East): The current position under the dental treatment services scheme, which was introduced by my Department on 1 November 1994, is that dental treatment services 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 were identified as a priority group and additional resources have been made available to health boards to enable them to provide dental treatment services including dentures for this group. In addition emergency dental treatment for the relief of pain is available under the dental treatment services scheme to all medical card holders irrespective of age since the beginning of the scheme.

The second phase of the scheme will involve the extension of the scheme to provide routine dental treatment services to medical card holders in the 16 to 34 year old age group and the provision of full dentures to all medical card holders without any natural teeth.
It was my intention to introduce the second phase from 1 April 1996. However the Irish Dental Association indicated their unwillingness to co-operate with the introduction of the second phase of the scheme pending resolution of certain issues. The provision of appropriate funding was not an issue. The scheme could not be extended without the co-operation of the association as private dental practitioners carry out the treatment on behalf of the health boards under the scheme. These issues have now been settled and the second phase will be introduced on 1 June 1996.