Irish Dental Association Bemoans Closure Of Children’s Dental Clinic

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The Irish Dental Association has complained about the decision to close a children’s dental facility at short notice.

The children’s dental clinic at St James’ Hospital was closed at the start of October due to concerns about the safety of the premises; however, the IDA claims that alternative arrangements have not been made and children have been left in the lurch.

The clinic, which was run by the HSE, treated up to 3,000 children every year, many of them under general anaesthetic and dentists are now worried that children who need treatment will be forced to wait.

Fintan Hourihan, chief executive of the IDA, said that the HSE has been aware of potential issues with the building for many years and they have now taken the decision to close the clinic without much prior warning, leaving children facing an uncertain future. A decision could have been taken a long time ago with the necessary arrangements in place for when the building shut. Mr Hourihan said that there is a possibility that some children will be advised to take repeat courses of antibiotics, which posed an unnecessary threat to their health.

The IDA has called for the HSE to take urgent action to remedy the situation and provide the children who were due to have treatment at the clinic with alternative care.

A spokeswoman for the HSE said that there were worries about the safety of the building and following a risk assessment, the decision was taken to close the clinic. The HSE is now working to find alternative premises and expects the service to be running as normal by the beginning of next year. Until then, urgent cases have been referred to private clinics in and around Dublin.

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