The Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS) provides dental care, free of charge to medical card holders aged 16 and over. These services are provided by independent dental practitioners who have a contract with the HSE. I am committed to ensuring the sustainability of the DTSS, but recognise that it needs to be aligned with the best international evidence and practice, as outlined in Smile agus Sláinte, the National Oral Health Policy (2019). The COVID-19 pandemic has caused the roll-out of the National Oral Health Policy to be delayed, and the proposed review of the DTSS contract to be deferred.
Officials in my Department and in the HSE have engaged with the Irish Dental Association with a view to addressing issues around the provision of services to medical card holders and that process of engagement is continuing. Additional funding of €10 million has been provided in Budget 2022, on top of a provision of €56 million for the Existing Level of Services.