I propose to take Questions Nos. 89 and 91 together. The health boards are statutorily responsible for the provision of orthodontic services and I have asked each health board to reply directly to the Deputy with the information requested.
This year I initiated the first phase of a major development plan for the dental services. The plan provides for the improvement of secondary care orthodontic services through the recruitment of additional consultant orthodontists and dental support staff. This year additional funding of over £1 million was provided by me to health boards for ten dentists and necessary support staff to train and work on secondary care orthodontics under the direction of the consultant orthodontists.
My Department is at present in consultation with individual health boards as to their requirements having regard to my policy of developing a consultantled secondary care orthodontic service. Under the plan the consultant orthodontist will continue to organise and co-ordinate training for health board dentists so that a fully developed framework of orthodontic expertise is available to meet the needs of this area of the dental services.