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News / November 3, 2010

Dental treatment cut by half for PRSI patients

by Guy Hiscott

The reality of PRSI cutbacks has come home to roost, with latest figures suggesting that 700,000 fewer dental treatments were carried out in the first 10 months of this year, when compared to 2009.

The dramatic figures, supplied by the Department of Social Protection, show that spending on dental care has dropped from €51.4m this time last year to €22.8m for the first 10 months of 2010. They also indicate that the number of claims is down by 45%

The chief executive of the Irish Dental Association (IDA), Fintan Hourihan, described the figures as alarming.

Fintan went on to state: ‘These figures show how ordinary taxpayers are continuing to pay their PRSI [up to €53 per week in PRSI contributions] but are receiving very little in return, and now we can see the real effects of the government’s downgrading of this scheme.

‘What type of pay related social insurance benefit are the people of this country receiving? Consumers are constantly being encouraged to highlight cases of mis-selling. This is surely a blatant example.’

Meanwhile, a new survey carried out by the IDA shows that 47% of practices have reduced staff through redundancies and lay-offs, while two-thirds of practices have cut working hours for staff.

The survey also indicates that income has fallen in 92% of practices.