As of last Friday, September 28, there is no HSE dental services in Athy.
The HSE has confirmed that the Dental Clinic in the Athy Health Centre closed last Friday. This was as a result of “HSE staffing issues”, and patients are now being told they will have to “go private” to get their teeth seen to.
The HSE has also confirmed that “all services (at the dental clinic) are suspended and the situation will be kept under review by the HSE dental service”.
In a letter seen by the Leinster Leader, the HSE advises that “if your child has not received an appointment for treatment due while in second or sixth classes in the September 2011 to June 2012 school year, unfortunately, he or she will not now receive an appointment.
“The school dental programme for September 2012 to June 2013 school year and other years is also suspended.”
While all children up to their 16th birthday can access HSE emergency dental services at “any other HSE dental clinics once the clinic is open”, for others, the only advice given is to “seek dental care outside the HSE service”.
The letter from the HSE concludes: “We appreciate that this is a very difficult situation. We hope the the matter can be resolved as soon as possible.”
Local town councillor Thomas Redmond called for the dental service to be re-instated. “The closure of the HSE dental clinic in Athy will have a significant effect on the health and well being of children in Athy and surrounding areas.
“As a parent I know exactly how important the services are in giving children from all backgrounds both education on prevention of tooth decay and doing work on teeth and bones.”
He added that the would be asking the HSE for details on on what other HSE clinics in Athy were under threat.
- Conor McHugh