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News / October 30, 2008

Galway pupils missing out on dental screening

by Guy Hiscott

As reported in Irish Medical News, retirements and resignations in the Galway dental department are posing challenges in the provision of oral health screening and treatment services to hundreds of primary school children in the region, as up to 21 schools have no permanent dentist in the HSE West region.

Last year two dentists retired and one resigned, and prior to this a principal dental surgeon had resigned in 2006, presenting challenges to servicing the population of Galway. This resulted in vacant posts in Merlin, Gort, Headford, and Shantalla, with vacancies still remaining in Clifden and Carna.

‘A dentist from another Galway clinic attends the Clifden and Carna area occasionally. This limited service cannot be expected to replace the services of a full-time dental team for this area,’ said a spokesperson for the HSE.

Emergency patients also occasionally attend in Shantalla and in University Hospital Galway.

The HSE is currently implementing a recruitment process to appoint a dental surgeon with Irish language skills and the principal dental surgeon post is due to be advertised.