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Bite Me – If Tipperary Dentists Are Not Suing The HSE

Bite Me Please!

The High Court was told on Thursday last that Dentists whose practices were heavily dependent on medical card patient treatments face closure before the end of this year.
Ms Justice Mary Irvine is to decide next week if the court can restrain the HSE from applying major cutbacks  to the Dental Treatment Services Scheme, which currently provides free dental treatment to Medical Card holders.

The Tipperary dentists involved in these court proceedings are Dr Michael O’Sullivan, Dr Liam Tuohy, Dr Corinne Dwyer and Dr Donald Daly, who, according to recent press reports, each earn somewhere between €127,00 and €205,000 each, annually, from the Dental Treatment Services Scheme, on top of other earned dental income from their ordinary private practises.

In total, fifty-six dentists are suing the HSE for breach of contract. Eileen Barrington, acting for the dentists, informed the court that twenty five of those bringing this case, claim they will be forced out of business and are seeking interlocutory injunctions. Two dentists, have already been granted court injunctions and their cases are expected be heard next December.

Mark Connaughton SC, representing the HSE, stated that while it was regrettable some dentists may be forced out of business between now and the December trial, their losses were capable of being measured in damages. He further stated no interlocutory restraints were required.

The court was told in an affidavit on behalf of all of the dentists that some members faced significant staff lay-offs, possible closure or even emigration.

A spokesperson for the HSE’s Primary Care Reimbursement Service, stated that it was likely hundreds of further applications could be made by the 1,400 plus dentists participating in this scheme.

Meanwhile, back in the real world, the cost of getting teeth fixed here in Ireland has created a small boom in dental tourism abroad, for those who cannot afford  the present Irish high charges. Companies are now offering attractive travel packages that include flights, transport, top hotel accommodation and top class dental work at,  in some cases, 70% savings over Irish dental prices.

With this in mind, one can’t help but ask the question to where are these dentists going to emigrate?

Maybe, my dentist friends, it is time to reduce your monopolistic prices.  The next thing we will be informed is that dentists are fighting for the rights of medical card holders.

Bite me please.

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