Minister announces the development of a new National Oral Health Policy
The Minister for Health and Children, Mary Harney T.D., today, 25 September, announced the research and development of a new National Oral Health Policy.
This new oral health strategy, the first such strategy in thirteen years, will be undertaken by the Department of Health and Children, in conjunction with the HSE. The development of this new national strategy will allow a critical examination of the many challenges and issue currently facing the dental sector in Ireland.
Some of the main areas which it is intended to examine in the development of the new policy are as follows;
- A revised regulatory regime for the dental sector in Ireland culminating in a new Dentists Act.
- The integration of oral health in the wider health care delivery system to include enhanced synergies with health promotion, children’s health, primary care partnerships, disability services, long stay care and services for older people.
- Competition issues as raised by the Competition Authority in its report/s on the dental profession in Ireland.
- Manpower planning, specialization and skills-mix including the recognition and future expansion of role of auxiliary dental professions and the identification of appropriate training needs.
- Examining the possibility of stream-lining the existing state-funded dental schemes.
- Service delivery issues such as orthodontic services, and special needs dentistry.
“I am pleased to announce the development of a new National Oral Health Policy. It is an opportune time to examine dental policy as there are a number of challenges to which the dental sector in Ireland must respond. We need to update our regulatory regime to enable us to improve the competitive environment for dental services in Ireland. In addition, we need to reorientate our dental services in response to the demands brought about by changing demography in Ireland, while also improving the level of service to certain existing groups within our society” Minister Harney stated.
“I am also anxious that we coordinate, and where possible, streamline existing methods of service delivery to reduce inefficiencies, achieve greater value for money, produce synergies and deliver a greater level of service. Also, I am concerned that in developing this policy that we place a strong emphasis on future dental treatment needs and set down the strategies for services and professionals which will help us deliver on these needs. We must also be cognisant of the continuing value of education in oral disease prevention.”
It is intended to undertake a wide ranging consultation exercise with key stakeholders, interested agencies and the general public. It is expected that the new National Oral Health Policy report will be available in July 2008.