IDA slams HSE’s DTSS “breach of privacy”

Publication of dental payments criticised

The Irish Dental Association (IDA) has “strongly opposed” the publication of DTSS payments to named dentists, which it says is in breach of privacy protections available to dentists.

A statement on the association’s website said that it cannot understand why the Health Services Executive (HSE) has published the 2014 payment details having stopped publication of the details last year. The statement continued: “We have made our views known to the HSE and we are extremely disappointed that it has chosen to proceed and provide details of payments to named dental contractors in 2014.

“The HSE appears to be confusing the release of financial information with the proposed release of personal details and we reiterate our opposition to the release of the names of the dentists holding DTSS contracts.

“Previously we had raised our concerns with the Office of the Data Protection Commissioner on this issue as we believed that the publication of payments represented a breach of privacy as recognised by law internationally and was made without the consent of the dentists concerned.”

The association argues that the payment information doesn’t provide the whole picture, as it suggests these are the levels of income dentists earn. Factors such as running costs, materials used and other overheads are not mentioned.

However, a spokesman for the HSE explained it was a Freedom of Information (FoI) request that prompted the publication.

He said: “The HSE no longer publish detailed records of Primary Care Contractor payments, and do not provide them on request.

“However, the HSE has obligations under FoI legislation to provide certain records if requested under that legislation.

“Where records relating to details of the spending of public moneys are requested under FOI, the records are provided, taking account of all aspects of the relevant legislative responsibilities placed on the organisation.”