Next steps for Sláintecare

Prof. Máiréad Harding (left)/Dr Úna McAuliffe (right)

Prof. Máiréad Harding and Dr Úna McAuliffe, in collaboration with The Dental Health Foundation, were keynote speakers at a recent national forum for health policy entitled ‘Next steps for Sláintecare – implementation, regulation, and priorities for public health, the workforce, and moving forward in the wake of Covid-19’. Delegates considering the priorities for Ireland’s health and social care system included Mr Paul Reid, Director General and CEO of the HSE, leading clinicians from across the health service, and members of the Oireachtas Health Committee.

Prof. Harding and Dr McAuliffe highlighted the neglect of oral health in the general health policy arena, particularly its limited recognition in Sláintecare and Healthy Ireland, while emphasising the prevalence of oral diseases as major non-communicable diseases. An overview of the current publicly funded dental system was provided, illustrating the gaps in coverage for some of the most vulnerable members of our population. Prof. Harding and Dr McAuliffe urged delegates that two years after the publication of ‘Smile agus Sláinte’, oral health needs an equal seat at the table, and should be included in any future health system reform under the universal healthcare agenda.