Irish dentists call for emergency centres to be opened during coronavirus crisis

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Irish dentists are calling for the government to open emergency centres to provide care for patients during the coronavirus crisis.

The Irish Dental Association has urged ministers to ensure that patients who need urgent treatment are able to access it while practices are closed. Dental clinics all over the country have been advised to shut and postpone planned appointments to reduce the spread of infection. While routine appointments can be rearranged, dentists are worried that patients who need emergency care won’t be able to access treatment.

In a letter sent to Simon Harris, the Minister for Health, Professor Leo Stassen, the president of the IDA, asked the government to outline plans to provide urgent dental treatment for patients in the coming weeks. In other countries, urgent care centres have been established, and this is a model Irish dentists are keen to recreate. 

According to Prof Stassen, many dental professionals have already signed up to provide online advice as part of the HSE’s ‘Be on Call for Ireland’ initiative, and many are also keen to staff emergency centres if and when they open.

As the situation has developed and progressed, Prof Stassen said that patients and medical and dental professionals are navigating uncharted waters, and this requires a change in the approach to treatment. Patients who needed to see a dentist would normally call their local practice, but with clinics closed, there is a gap that needs filling. If urgent centres are planned, dentists want to know when and where they are opening to ensure that patients get the treatment they need as quickly as possible. 

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