Fianna Fáil TD for Galway East, Micheál Kitt, has welcomed the announcement that funding for a Diploma in Dental Special Care, which will provide for the up-skilling of 6 dentists, has been granted.
The up-skilling is necessary in order to address dental services for homeless people.
Speaking in the Dáil this week, Deputy Kitt highlighted the many issues facing homeless people in accessing dental services.
“Homelessness does not refer solely to those who are sleeping rough. Those who live in hostels, sleep on the sofas of their friend’s homes or remain in hospital because they don’t’ have a home in which to recuperate are also affected by these same issues.
“Funding should be ring-fenced for dental services for the homeless in Galway, Galway City and Ballinasloe in particular. There has been funding provided in the past for chiropody and other services.”
Deputy Kitt added he hopes that with new funding, dental services may improve.
“Even with the various limited services currently available, and the fillings and extractions allowed under the medical card, we do not meet the needs of this vulnerable group of people.
“I am pleased that one of the six dentists will be assigned to the HSE West area. I know that the Simon Community and HSE West have lobbied strongly for this funding.”
Deputy Kitt paid tribute to the HSE West multi-disciplinary team already in place, which includes a psychiatric nurse, a substance misuse counsellor and a designated community nurse.
“Providing services for homeless people is complex and I commend the work being done by Galway Simon Community. I hope the extra funding for the diploma will help. Everything should be done to meet the needs of this vulnerable group of people,” concluded Deputy Kitt.