More Than A Million People Missing Out On Free Dental Checks In Ireland

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Almost 2 million people in Ireland are entitled to free dental checks as part of the PRSI scheme; however, the Irish Dental Association believes that more than half have no idea.

Statistics show that only 15 per cent of those entitled to free check-ups visited their dentist for a free appointment last year, with more than a million missing out on free treatment.

The head of the Irish Dental Association claims that the majority of people who are entitled to free checks in return for contributions to the PRSI scheme are unaware of their entitlement and this is why uptake is so low. Peter Gannon said that public awareness of the benefits is low because there has been no effort to promote free check-ups and this is the only remaining benefit of the scheme following extensive cuts made by health officials in 2010.

Speaking at the annual Irish Dental Association conference in Kilkenny, Mr Gannon accused the Department of Social Protection of failing to inform patients involved with the PRSI scheme of their benefits.

The IDA is also proposing a new system to provide employees with a dental voucher once a year, so that they have a physical copy of a voucher stating that they are entitled to a free dental check-up. Mr Gannon said that the scheme would not cost much, as there was no need for advertising and claimed that it would cut costs in the long-run, as check-ups help to reduce the risk of oral disease.

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