Dr Mark O'Donnell B.D.S
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Tuesday and Friday mornings
Dentists join doctors in calling for proper negotiations with state on health reforms
The Irish Dental Union (IDU) has outlined its support for the Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) in its call for collective bargaining on the contractual terms of providing free GP services to children under the age of six.
In a submission to the HSE regarding the draft contract for the scheme on February 19, the IDU objected to the notion that "fees could be amended by the Minister for Health from time to time, following consultation (clause 21)".
The IDU believe that this clause suggests that doctors, dentists, and others will have different rules applied to them than their colleagues who are covered by national pay agreements and are entitled to have their unions represent them in collective bargaining with the state.
The Union have stressed in their submission that they be afforded the right to negotiate on behalf of dentists, as they have for many decades in regard to the Dental Treatment Services Scheme (DTSS), operated by the HSE, and the Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme (DTBS), operated by the Department of Social Protection.
The submission concluded by stating: "The interests of the public are best served by ending the stubborn persistence by the Department of Health and HSE in seeking to deny the right to collective bargaining to members of the IMO, the IDU, and other registered trade unions."
Study by Cancer Control Programme finds no link between fluoridation and cancer
A possible relationship between fluoridated water and cancer risk has been debated for years. However, a new report, completed by the National Cancer Control Programme (NCCP), states that no such association exists.
The report sites a publication by the EU Scientific Committee on Health and Environmental Risks (SCHER) entitled 'Opinion on critical review of any evidence on the hazard profile, health effects, and human exposure to fluoride and the fluoridating agents of drinking'. SCHER agrees that epidemiological studies do not indicate a clear link between fluoride in drinking water, and osteosarcoma and cancer in general. The study states that no evidence exists from animal studies to support the link, thus fluoride cannot be classified as a carcinogen.
The association of fluoridated water with fractures is also examined by the NCCP report. Reference is made to a recent study by Nasman et al (2013), which found that there is no link between chronic fluoride exposure and the occurrence of hip fracture.
The NCCP report concludes that the Expert Body’s advice that water fluoridation, at the optimal level, does not cause any ill health effects and protects the oral health of the population, is supported by major international, scientifically-validated reviews.
Gaelic football is sport with most dental injuries for children
Gaelic football is the sport dentists believe results in the most dental injuries among children, according to a new survey.
Some 45% of respondents said they believed football caused the most dental injuries, with hurling and rugby in joint second on 33%.
IDA figures indicate that Ireland has one of the highest rates of sport-related oral injuries in the EU, with one-third of all adult dental injuries being sports related. Gum shields became mandatory for juveniles playing Gaelic football last year and became compulsory for adult players on January 1. In something of a surprise, cycling was in third place ahead of both soccer and hockey.
Over 130 dentists from all over the country took part in the survey. IDA President Dr Seán Malone said the findings showed the importance of wearing a gum shield or helmet when participating in sports.
“We welcomed the GAA’s gum shield rule when it was introduced, but it’s important that it is now strictly enforced. The rule in every club for juveniles and adults should be the same – ‘no gum shield, no game’. Given these figures, the IDA believes the gum shield rule should also apply to hurling, and we hope the GAA will introduce a similar measure for that sport in the near future,” he said.