Written Answers. - Orthodontic Services.

Jimmy Deenihan

Question:

82 Mr. Deenihan asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the long delays being experienced by children waiting for orthodontic treatment in the Southern Health Board area; the proposals, if any, he has to reduce this list; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [1947/99]

The provision of orthodontic treatment and the maintenance of waiting lists in the Southern Health Board area are the statutory responsibility of the Southern Health Board.

Orthodontic services in the Southern Health Board are being developed in accordance with the Dental Health Action Plan. The Dental Health Action Plan provides for the development of a consultant-led service by each health board. A consultant led service ensures a service of high quality and high service levels.

I have had inquiries made of the Southern Health Board. I understand that the waiting list for orthodontic treatment is currently 3,220. The Southern Health Board is currently treating patients who were placed on the treatment list at or after September 1996. The waiting period for persons on the treatment waiting list is therefore two years and four months.

At the suggestion of my Department, an Orthodontic Review Group was set up by the health boards to prepare a report and make recommendations on the orthodontic services. The objective of this review is to ensure equity in the provision of orthodontic treatment throughout the health boards having regard to the additional resources provided to health boards over the past few years under the Dental Health Action Plan.
I understand that this group has recently made its report to the chief executive officers of the health boards and is now under consideration by them.