Antibiotic warning from GDP leader

HSE exposing patients to unnecessary risks according to IDA commitee

The leader of the Irish Dental Association’s general dental practitioners committee has called on the HSE to stop exposing patients awaiting oral surgery to the health risks caused by repeated use of antibiotics.

Dr Ryan Hennessy said the delays were caused by cutbacks in preventative treatment under which dentists are only permitted to fill two teeth a year, cutbacks in staffing and cutbacks in theatre time in hospitals.

He said: “ We regularly advise our patients that taking an antibiotic is not an alternative to effective treatment of underlying oral health problems, and that repeated prescriptions are not a solution. While antibiotics may improve the symptoms of dental issues they do not remove the cause.

“ It is therefore alarming that due to HSE delays in arranging necessary treatment for patients who require specialist oral surgery, patients must repeatedly take multiple prescriptions of antibiotics prescribed by their dentist or doctor to help control recurrent infections. Of course this is directly linked to cutbacks in preventative treatments and staffing. We have seen a 20 per cent net reduction in dental staffing in the dental services provided directly by the HSE over the last four years.

“ However, the fact that patients are being forced to use antibiotics for prolonged periods is exposing them to unnecessary health risks which are not acceptable and therefore we are calling on the Minister for Health to insist that maximum waiting times be introduced in order to safeguard the health of patients referred for specialist oral surgery.”