There are 252 fewer dentists available to  those with medical cards compared to last year.

That leaves just over 800 dentists to service the entire country that are availing of the scheme.

The Irish Independent has this week detailed that Mayo, Galway and Roscommon are among the counties that are facing the biggest fall in the number of scheme practitioners over the past 12 months.

Cork City,  north Dublin, Cavan and Monaghan are also included as counties and areas affected.

The difficulty in accessing dentists was already highlighted by card holders in May of last year, with 1,060 in the scheme at the time which is now down to 808.

There are now just 56 dentists in the scheme in Galway, which is down from 111 a year ago and there are only six left in Roscommon – which is down from 17.

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