Updated | Government to pay for dental fillings provided by private dentists

UHM orders industrial action at Mater Dei’s dentistry department due to the lack of action by the management regarding number of staff

The Union Haddiema Maghqudin (UHM) has ordered industrial action at Mater Dei Hospital’s dentistry department, Health Minister Chris Fearne confirmed in reply to a parliamentary question tabled yesterday by shadow health minister Claudette Buttigieg.

Fearne also said that the health department has issued an expression of interest for private dentists. These would be offering dental fillings which to be paid by the government.

Last March, the UHM ordered and industrial action in the department of dentistry in Mater Dei hospital, which led to an increase in the waiting list for fillings.

However, in reaction to the parliamentary question, UHM claimed that Fearne had been unaware that the department was meeting with the UHM and had come to an agreement, resulting in the necessary actions being taken over a month ago.

The UHM also argued that the actions taken were to prevent the closing down of the emergency department at Mater Dei. The union claimed that the number of dentists required to staff the emergency department is 30, but currently this number has been reduced to 14.

“Last Febuary, six dentists were required to treat dentistry patients in the emergency department, but this number has been reduced to four.”

The UHM claimed that it was due to the lack of action by the management which led the UHM to intervene and enforced a directive to ensure that the emergency department is staffed with six dentists.

Fearne met with UHM in April and it was decided that two dentists were to be transferred from the dental fillings section to the emergency department. In order not to lengthen the waiting list for fillings, it was agreed to release a call for employment for more dentists, while the government was to temporarily pay for patients to have their fillings done privately.

The UHM pointed out that while the call to transfer some patients to private clinics was released, the call to hire new dentists has not been released to date.

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