Dáil Éireann - Volume 336 - 15 June, 1982

Written Answers. - Dental Services.

960. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health the number of full-time dentists who operate in the Eastern Health Board clinics on the north side and the south side of the city of Dublin; and the population they service in each case.

[91] Minister for Health (Dr. Woods): The numbers of full-time dentists operating in the Eastern Health Board clinics are as follows: North Dublin, 21; South Dublin, 29.

The great majority of eligible adults in the Dublin area receive treatment from dentists in private practice through the “ad hoc” dental scheme. The health board's own dental staff provide a service for the following eligible categories: (a) Pupils of national schools; (b) Pre-school children; (c) Eligible adolescents (mainly those between 12 and 16 years of age who are dependants of medical card holders); (d) Eligible adults (mainly the elderly, the handicapped and expectant and nursing mothers).

The approximate numbers in these categories are as follows: (a) 146,000; (b) 20,000; (c) 20,000; (d) 90,000. Those in category (a) are divided between north and south Dublin as follows: North Dublin. 71,500 approx.; South Dublin, 74,500 approx. No breakdowns are available between north and south Dublin for those in the other categories.

961. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health the number of dental surgeries equipped and operating on the north side of Dublin city.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods): I presume that the Deputy is referring to health board dental surgeries. There are 33 equipped health board dental surgeries on the north side of Dublin.

962. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Health if he is aware that the dental service on the north side of Dublin city is over-stretched resulting in very long waiting lists; and whether he will consider appointing more full-time dentists to cope with the problem.

Minister for Health (Dr. Woods): I am aware of only two areas on the north side where there are problems in relation to the provision of dental treatment for eligible persons. These are the areas served by the Marino and Kilbarrack dental surgeries. In both cases the problem stems [92] from lack of adequate accommodation rather than from a shortage of dentists. An additional dental surgery is under construction at Marino and should be completed in about six week's time. A new health centre at Kilbarrack with two additional dental surgeries is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

When available these new facilities at Marino and Kilbarrack should result in the present long waiting lists being greatly reduced.