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Dental leaders urge Government to provide appropriate PPE for dentists providing emergency treatment


26 March 2020

Dental Protection and the Irish Dental Association are calling on the Government to ensure dentists have access to appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), as they continue to treat emergency patients.

In a joint letter to Minister Simon Harris, they say Covid-19 is generating an unprecedented global demand on the supply chain of PPE and most dentists have had to suspend all routine work. However, across Ireland dentists are rightly continuing to provide emergency treatment to patients most in need, and those doing this urgent work need to be protected.

Dentists are especially at risk of contracting Covid-19, given the nature of the treatment they provide. A recent report in The New York Times suggests that dentists face a greater risk compared to nearly all other professions; given both the extent to which they encounter diseases and infections, and the close proximity they have to patients.

Currently, dentists are putting their health at risk to treat emergency patients. Dental Protection and the Irish Dental Association say the difficulties dentists are having in obtaining PPE are “extremely worrying” and it is vital that the Government takes all necessary steps to protect their health and safety during this pandemic.

Raj Rattan, Dental Director at Dental Protection said:

“Dentists in Ireland are amongst the best and most dedicated in the world and their commitment to quality patient care comes as no surprise to us.

“It is welcome news that supplies of PPE are being procured by HSE this week. Dentists must receive their share of this equipment to ensure that patients can be treated in a safe environment and that the dental team are adequately protected.

“Dentists always put the interests of the patients first; it is now up to the Government and the HSE to ensure that the safety and wellbeing of dentists and their teams is treated as a priority. We urge the Government to work with HSE to respond with the urgency this matter deserves.”

Irish Dental Association President, Professor Leo Stassen, added:

“As urgent conversations continue about centralising the provision of emergency dental care across the regions, we are urging the Government to ensure that dentists providing this care have access to appropriate PPE. The difficulties dentists are having in obtaining PPE is extremely worrying.

“Dentists remain dedicated to treating their patients, and we’re calling on the Government to support them with the PPE they need to work safely and effectively during this challenging time.

“We stand ready to support the Government and its fight against this pandemic in any way we can.”

ENDS

Notes to editor

US report referenced: New York Times: The Workers Who Face the Greatest Coronavirus Risk

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/15/business/economy/coronavirus-worker-risk.html

For further information contact: Ione Gyamfi at E: ione.gyamfi@medicalprotection.org or M:+44(0)77525 680165

About Dental Protection

Dental Protection is a registered trademark and a trading name of The Medical Protection Society Limited (“MPS”). MPS is the world’s leading protection organisation for doctors, dentists and healthcare professionals. We protect and support the professional interests of more than 300,000 members around the world. Membership provides access to expert advice and support and can also provide, depending on the type of membership required, the right to request indemnity for any complaints or claims arising from professional practice.

Our in-house experts assist with the wide range of legal and ethical problems that arise from professional practice. This can include clinical negligence claims, complaints, medical and dental council inquiries, legal and ethical dilemmas, disciplinary procedures, inquests and fatal accident inquiries.

Our philosophy is to support safe practice in medicine and dentistry by helping to avert problems in the first place. We do this by promoting risk management through our workshops, E-learning, clinical risk assessments, publications, conferences, lectures and presentations.

MPS is not an insurance company. All the benefits of membership of MPS are discretionary as set out in the Memorandum and Articles of Association.

About the Irish Dental Association

The Association is the trade union for Irish dentists. It represents dentists in all dealings and negotiations with government and other relevant bodies, and seeks to maintain just and reasonable terms of employment and proper remuneration for dentists.

The Irish Dental Association exists to promote the interests of the dental profession and to promote the well-being of our country's population through the attainment of optimum oral health.

The IDA offers a wide range of educational and scientific services including publication of the Journal of the Irish Dental Association as well as organising two major educational conferences nationally each year plus as numerous regional CPD events. The Association also actively advocates for better oral health for the Irish population.