Dáil Éireann - Volume 487 - 17 February, 1998
Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.
Mr. Boylan Mr. Boylan
195. Mr. Boylan asked the Minister for Health and Children the number of applicants for orthodontic treatment who have been listed under the Department regulations as being currently eligible from counties Cavan and Monaghan; if he has satisfied himself that the current waiting period for treatment is satisfactory; the extra staff and resources, if any, he will allocate in order that this backlog and waiting period may be cleared; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [4030/98]
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen) Brian Cowen
Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The provision of orthodontic treatment services in the Cavan-Monaghan area is the responsibility of the North-Eastern Health Board and the waiting lists for treatment are maintained by the board.
I have been advised by the board that a total of 631 persons are on current waiting lists for orthodontic treatment in the Cavan-Monaghan area.
Because of the high cost of providing orthodontic treatment, it is important that resources be used to best advantage and for those most severely affected-handicapped. Patients are, therefore, assessed for treatment in accordance with guidelines issued by my Department and placed on waiting lists in descending order of severity-handicap. The average waiting times for treatment in the Cavan-Monaghan area are currently as follows: Category A, 326 days; Category B, 1,163 days.
 I accept that these waiting periods are unsatisfactory. However, the health board orthodontic services are currently being developed in accordance with the Dental Health Action Plan. The action plan provides for the phased improvement of orthodontic treatment services through the introduction of a consultant led orthodontic service in each health board. In addition to clinical duties, a primary task of the consultant is to organise and co-ordinate training to sub-consultant level for health board dental staff. This enables health boards to provide a greatly increased volume of service and a service of high quality.
I understand that the post of consultant orthodontist in the North-Eastern Health Board has been advertised and the board expects that the post will be filled in 1998.
Dáil Éireann 487 Written Answers. Orthodontic Service.