Minister for Health, Simon Harris TD and Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Regina Doherty TD have today published Smile agus Sláinte, the new National Oral Health Policy.
The plan will see the service evolve from a “diagnose and treat” to a person-centred, proactive and preventative approach available locally, in line with the vision as set out under Sláintecare.
Under the Policy, all children up to 16 years will receive eight oral healthcare packages including examinations, assessments, advice, prevention interventions, emergency care and referral as appropriate. Oral healthcare packages will also be provided for medical card holders over 16 years. The packages will be provided in a primary care setting by oral healthcare practitioners contracted by the HSE.
There will be a particular focus on improved oral health services for all vulnerable groups, including people in nursing and residential homes. Smile agus Sláinte will ensure that the local dentist will be the first point of contact for these groups with the HSE community oral healthcare services providing additional high-support care as required.
The key actions contained in the Policy include:
- Provision of preventative oral health packages for children and eligible adults
- A focus on vulnerable groups with the development of appropriate oral health interventions and clinical care pathways
- A full review of education and training to ensure that the skill levels of the profession are commensurate with today’s requirements
- Oral health promotion programmes for the entire population
- The maintenance of the programme of water fluoridation