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Un-toothful Irish people requesting dental appointments in Spain - and not showing up

And all these patients were requesting an email that certified that they had an appointment at our practice, and this was very unusual."

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A dental clinic in Tenerife has revealed how they began to get suspicious after they started receiving emails and phone calls from people in Ireland asking for confirmation of appointments but then not showing up. 

Roberta Beccaris from Clínica Dental on Tenerife Sur told Claire Byrne on RTÉ Radio 1 about Irish people who were making bookings at her clinic, asking for a confirmation email for travel and then not turning up for the appointment.

Host Claire asked Roberta about the mysterious trend after last night’s Prime Time showed how an Irish man was going through Dublin Airport with a letter confirming a dental appointment in Tenerife in order to avoid travel restrictions.

“So, we wanted to ask you, have you been receiving bookings for dental appointments from Irish people in the past few weeks?” Claire asked Roberta.

She told Claire: "Yes, what has been happening in the last few weeks is we've been receiving a lot of emails and phone calls from Ireland.

“And all these patients were requesting an email that certified that they had an appointment at our practice, and this was very unusual.

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“Before, they were just calling as we were used to having people who come from abroad - Irish or from the UK - and they never ask for an email of the confirmation and now they started to ask it.

“So we were quite suspicious about it and then what happened, these patients were not turning up. We were waiting for them and they are not coming to the practice."

Claire asked Roberta to confirm that these people were asking for written confirmation of their appointment and then not coming for their treatment.

“Yes,” Roberta said. “I'm asking them to write down the day they have an appointment, the time and the day, and then I send them another email to confirm the appointment and then they were not turning up.

“So today we're waiting to receive two patients but we don't know if they are coming. All this week we have the appointments booked and today we have other two but we don't know really if they're coming.

“Normally we are used to having Irish people but now they're asking for this email which is quite strange and obviously, as they're not turning up, now we understand it was just an excuse to have the letters to be able to come here for a holiday. They’re not interested really in our help.

“We are giving these appointments to people that really don't need our help instead of offering these appointments to people there are seriously interested to see a dentist because maybe they are in pain. So, it is not just (wasting) time it is also avoiding the possibility to see somebody who is in pain.”

Roberto revealed how they are getting five, six, seven emails and phone calls from Irish people every day. She added that while patients from Ireland are usually older, now they are younger and “just want to come on holidays”.

She also revealed how, in their local newspaper “they published an article that there were some Irish people who were presenting the letters at the airport saying they were coming to Tenerife for a holiday.”

This week Taoiseach Micheál Martin said the fine for travelling abroad for a non-essential reasons is to increase from €500 to €2,000.

The Taoiseach made the request to Health Minister Stephen Donnelly, in a bid to add another deterrent against foreign holidays as the Government did not believe the €500 fine was enough to stop people travelling abroad.

Secretary General of the Department of An Taoiseach, Liz Canavan, said that over half of the passengers arriving into Ireland are Irish residents, and two-thirds of those are returning from holiday.

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