Dental clinic closure sparks outrage

IDA calls for immediate action over St James’s Hospital clinic

The sudden closure of a child dental clinic in Dublin has been described as a “disgrace” by the Irish Dental Association.

The HSE said that the clinic at St James’s Hospital was closed in October due to “problems with the suitability of the building”.

The clinic provides dental care to around 3,000 children a year, usually five to seven-year-olds, many of whom require multiple dental extractions. It was opened on a temporary basis in 2003 and the IDA have accused the HSE of closing the clinic without arranging for alternative premises.

IDA chief executive Fintan Hourihan said: “We are calling on the HSE to take action immediately. They must provide suitable alternative facilities and put appropriate funding in place to ensure that children requiring general anaesthesia are not left waiting more than a couple of weeks before receiving treatment.

“Many dentists in the HSE have contacted us to express their extreme concern on behalf of their patients and their families. They are outraged at this latest move and have asked their union to publicly voice these concerns as they themselves are fearful of the consequences of raising their concerns.”

A spokesman for the HSE said: “The dental clinic in St James’s Hospital has ceased since October 2014 due to problems with the suitability of the building.

“An alternative location for this service is being sourced at present and normal service is expected to resume in early 2015. In the meantime, urgent cases requiring immediate treatment due to pain or swelling are being dealt with as necessary at private centres in Dublin and at no cost to the family.

“Parents who have concerns in relation to this matter should liaise closely with their local public dental clinic, particularly if there is any deterioration or pain being experienced since their last dental assessment.”