Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Questions (667)

Thomas P. Broughan

Question:

667. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Health if he will report on dentistry services for children aged under six, six to 12 and 12 to 18 years of age; if free medical services to these cohorts will include dentistry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [18614/19]

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Written answers (Question to Health)

The HSE currently provides preventive care, screening and necessary interventions for permanent teeth including fillings and extractions as well as referral for orthodontics and other secondary care, where appropriate, for school children mainly in 2nd and 6th class and in 4th class where resources allow. Emergency treatment is provided to children up to 16 years of age. Services are also provided for people with special needs and other vulnerable groups.

The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to children who have the greatest level of need once assessed and referred for treatment before their 16th birthday. The HSE aims to commence treatment for the majority within two years of assessment with priority accorded to cases of greatest clinical need.

On 3 April 2019, I published Smile agus Sláinte, the new National Oral Health Policy, together with my colleague, Regina Doherty TD, the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection. The new Policy will support a preventive approach and will involve the introduction of oral healthcare packages for children. These packages will consist of examinations, assessments, advice, prevention interventions, emergency care and referral as appropriate. They will be provided in a primary care setting by oral healthcare practitioners contracted by the HSE.

Children under 6 years of age will be prioritised in 2020 and the packages will be made available to all children under 16 and medical card holders aged 16 and over on a phased basis. Eight packages of care will be provided from birth until the child reaches their 16th birthday. The relevant age bands are as follows:

Age

No. of oral healthcare packages provided

0 - 2

1

2 - 6

2

6 - 12

3

12 - 16

2

Medical card holders from age 16 until their 25th birthday will be provided with an oral health package every year.