Written Answers. - Orthodontic Services.

Bernard J. Durkan

Question:

640 Mr. Durkan asked the Minister for Health and Children the degree to which training of orthodontists is available; the number of orthodontists available to the general medical services; if this number corresponds with the average requirement per 1,000 population in respect of other EU states; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [2199/99]

Orthodontists have been trained in both dental schools and in some health boards associated with schools in the United Kingdom. Eight consultant orthodontists have been appointed to health boards and to the cleft lip and palate unit at St. James's Hospital. The consultant orthodontists in the regional orthodontic units are supported by about 30 dental surgeons trained, or undergoing training, to sub-specialist level. These numbers are in accordance with the requirements of the dental health action plan.

I am not aware of such a concept as an average EU requirement of orthodontists per 1000 population. The principle of subsidiarity allows member states to determine their own priorities relating to health service provision including orthodontic care and associated manpower levels.