Dáil Éireann - Volume 393 - 15 November, 1989

Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.

65. Mr. J. Higgins asked the Minister for Health the number of orthodontists providing service to the eight health boards; the ratio of orthodontists to patients; whether he has any plans for the employment of further orthodontists; and if he will make a statement on the matter.

Minister for Health (Dr. O'Hanlon): Every dental practitioner undergoes basic training in orthodontics and can provide routine orthodontic treatment. The health boards engage the services of [546] specialist orthodontists in private practice, on either a sessional basis or a fee per item of services basis to provide complicated treatments which cannot be undertaken by the health board dental surgeons. Because of the different arrangements which apply it is not feasible to quantify the numbers of orthodontists who serve the health boards.

Six full-time posts of consultant orthodontist were created for the health board dental service but only one post, that in the Mid-Western Health Board, has been filled despite repeated advertisement of all the posts both in Ireland and abroad over the past few years. I am committed to the filling of the five vacant posts of consultant orthodontist for the health board dental service and the conditions attached to the posts are under examination in my Department at present to see if they can be made more attractive to potential candidates.