Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.

Jim O'Keeffe

Question:

620 Mr. J. O'Keeffe asked the Minister for Health and Children if he will introduce a scheme whereby grant aid is available to the parents of children where orthodontic treatment is required for these children but is not readily available under the present scheme; the number of such children who are awaiting orthodontic treatment or assessment; and his proposals in this regard. [20326/00]

The provision of orthodontic treatment to eligible persons is the statutory responsibility of the health boards. Waiting lists for orthodontic treatment are maintained by the health boards. The most recent information made available to my Department is for the quarter ended 30 June 2000 and is as follows:

Health Board

Assessment Waiting List

Treatment Waiting List

Eastern Regional Health Authority

10,202

987

Midland Health Board

20

247

Mid-Western Health Board

2,671

1,608

North Eastern Health Board

n/a

836

North Western Health Board

380

2,167

South Eastern Health Board

314

560

Southern Health Board

5,000 (app)

4,528

Western Health Board

769

2,233

I have no plans at present to introduce a grant aid scheme to parents whose children are awaiting orthodontic treatment. Health board orthodontic services continue to be developed in accordance with the dental health action plan. This year I have provided an additional £1.45 million to health boards on an ongoing basis to further the development of their orthodontic services.
At my request, the health boards have submitted proposals to me on how waiting lists and times for orthodontic treatment could be reduced in their areas. In response I have recently approved a number of measures for the Eastern Regional Health Authority to improve their service and I hope to clarify the matter with the remaining health boards in the near future.
Question No. 621 with Question No. 505.
Question No. 622 with Question No. 568.