Dáil Éireann - Volume 490 - 29 April, 1998

Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.

63. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Health and Children the average waiting time for various categories of orthodontic treatment patients in County Donegal; and the steps, if any, he proposes to take to reduce this waiting time. [10239/98]

64. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Health and Children if an application has been submitted for the four additional orthodontic specialists to assist the orthodontic consultant in Donegal; and when the extra appointments will be sanctioned. [10240/98]

65. Mr. McGinley asked the Minister for Health and Children if his attention has been drawn to the long delays for orthodontic treatment [595] in County Donegal and the urgent need to provide extra personnel for the provision of this treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [10241/98]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): I propose to take Questions Nos. 63, 64 and 65 together.

The provision of orthodontic treatment for eligible persons in County Donegal is the statutory responsibility of the North-Western Health Board and the waiting lists are maintained by the board. I have been advised by the board that the average waiting time for secondary care orthodontic treatment in the board's area is between 12 and 30 months. I understand that the board has reviewed the position regarding the provision of secondary care services in its area and has put forward proposals to my Department for developing these services and reducing waiting periods. These proposals include the recruitment of four dentists with special training and qualifications in orthodontics described by the board as orthodontic specialists.

I am not in a position to approve additional posts for the board's orthodontic services. According to my Department's records the board already has its full allocation of orthodontic dental teams as provided under the dental health action plan.