Léim ar aghaidh chuig an bpríomhábhar

Dáil Éireann díospóireacht -
Thursday, 21 Mar 1985

Vol. 357 No. 2

Ceisteanna—Questions. Oral Answers. - Consultant Orthodontist.


asked the Minister for Health when a consultant orthodontist will be appointed to the Dublin dental services to deal with complicated orthodontic problems, in particular patients attenting Marino health centre.

The Local Appointments Commission are endeavouring to fill a number of posts of consultant orthodontist, including one for the Eastern Health Board. The post in the Eastern Health Board has been advertised a number of times without success. It was advertised again on 23 January 1985 and it is hoped that a suitable candidate will be found.

It is now more than seven months since I put down this question and this shows a total breakdown so far as Question Time is concerned. It is more than 12 months since treatment was available at Marino for young people with orthodontic problems. Will the Minister tell us the number on the waiting list, how long they have been on the list and will he state when the board ceased taking names for treatment?

It is a strange irony that the Eastern Health Board have considerable difficulty in appointing a consultant orthodontist. Approval was given for five posts, one for the Eastern Health Board. They were advertised in October 1983 but there was no suitable applicant for the post in the Eastern Health Board. In June 1984 the post, with four others, was advertised again but a candidate was not appointed. There are 300 names on the waiting list of the Eastern Health Board for complicated orthodontic treatment. I am extremely anxious that the post be filled. It was advertised again on 23 January and I hope that a suitable candidate will be found.

Proinsias de Rossa

Would the Minister be prepared to make arrangements for young children who need complicated orthodontic treatment to have it provided by a private orthodontist and for the health board to pay the costs in view of the distress this kind of problem causes to children?

The position is that a small element of the service was provided by private practitioners for patients in Kildare and Wicklow but not in Dublin. In the context of the complicated orthodontic treatment required, I do not think there will be much movement on the list unless the formal consultant post is taken up and the appointment is made. I can assure the Deputy I am extremely anxious that the appointment be made without further delay. Apparently there is considerable difficulty in getting this consultant's position filled.

It is all very well for the Minister to assure us that the appointment will be made as quickly as possible, but the vacancy has been there now for over three years. Whilst there are over 300 names on the list many more names should be on the list but were not accepted for the reasons outlined. Has the appointment not been made because there are not sufficient qualified people available? Were qualified orthodontists not interviewed by the Eastern Health Board and, if so, why was the appointment not made?

A Cheann Comhairle, would the Minister——

Question Time is nearly over and I am allowing only Deputy Brady to ask a question.

The Minister did not show any alacrity to respond so I thought I might get in with my question?

No. I am leaving this to Deputy Brady. Has the Minister an answer?

The principal dental surgeon in the Marino Health Centre area has not been referring names to the general waiting list, nevertheless when the consultant orthodontist is appointed all cases requiring complicated orthodontist treatment whether or not they are on the waiting list will be assessed or reassessed and dealt with. I do not have the professional competence to comment on the professional qualifications but if a health board do not have a suitable candidate for appointment they will not appoint one.

How many were interviewed?

The interview board would not take any risks by appointing a non-professional person. I will get my chief dental officer to write to the Deputy about the professional qualifications required.

The remaining questions will appear——

Could the Minister say if the orthodontists will take responsibility——

I am not allowing anybody else to ask a question. If Deputy Brady wishes to put one question he may do so.

If and when a person is appointed to the Eastern Health Board will he have responsibility for more than the Eastern Health Board? Will there be responsibility for, say, another two health boards apart from the EHB?

No, the appointment will be particular to the EHB.

The remaining questions will appear on next Tuesday's Order Paper.