THE HSE’s dental clinic in Millbrook Lawns is currently closed due to insufficient staff, with only 2.5 general dental surgeons working across the Dublin South West area.
The HSE Dental Service provides urgent care, the school dental programme and care to patients with special needs.
In Dublin South West, these services are provided across HSE clinics in Millbrook Lawns, Mary Mercer in Jobstown and Old County Road, Crumlin.
However, local services are being impacted on by a reduction in the number of dentists working across the three Dublin South West sites, which currently stands at 2.5 whole time equivalent general dental surgeons.
A HSE spokesperson said: “Currently the HSE Dental Service in Dublin South West has 2.5 whole time equivalent general dental surgeons working in the service.
“One other dentist is on leave and there are 3.0 whole time equivalent vacancies awaiting filling in the current ongoing recruitment campaign.”
The HSE also confirmed that the clinic in Millbrook Lawns, which closed to facilitate a Covid assessment hub during the pandemic, will reopen when there are “sufficient” dentists to man the service.
“There are three dental sites in Dublin South West (Millbrook Lawns, Mary Mercer and Crumlin)”, the spokesperson said.
“The Millbrook Lawns health centre (including the dental clinic) was closed during the Covid pandemic due to the health centre being used as a Covid assessment hub.
“The dental clinic will reopen when there are sufficient dentists to operate the clinic.
“Patients previously allocated to Millbrook Lawns continue to be treated at the other dental sites albeit limited in line with overall service availability.”
The Echo asked the HSE if school age checks are being carried out through the school dental programme, which, according to the HSE, aims to target children in designated classes while in national school.
The HSE told The Echo that in Dublin South West the designated classes are second, fourth and sixth.
However, the service is currently only able to target children in sixth.
The HSE spokesperson said: “It has not been possible to target children in fourth classes for several years, and currently the service is only in a position to target children in sixth classes.
“Children from second classes in the academic year 2020/21 have not been targeted and will not be targeted based on current available resources.
“It is not possible to offer an estimated average wait time as this service does not maintain a waiting list, instead it schedules the children from targeted classes on a school-by-school basis.”