Covid delaying treatment for children with severe dental health needs Kildare TD told

HSE plans to recruit more staff

Henry Bauress


Henry Bauress


Covid delaying treatment for children with severe dental health needs Kildare TD told

Dental staff move to Covid testing and tracing

There are over 15,000 children waiting for State provided dental care in the Republic of Ireland.

These include 2,335 waiting at St James  and 1,080 at Loughlinstown, the former East coast region.

At St James, the numbers include 1,037 waiting for treatment for between 2-4 years and 327 waiting for more than four years.

Deputy Durkan was told that  orthodontic treatment with the HSE Orthodontic Service is limited to those children with the  most severe and complex orthodontic treatment needs.

Covid 19 has caused delay in treatment times.

The information was given in the Dail to Kildare North TD, Bernard Durkan, who asked the Minister for Health his plans to alleviate the waiting times  being imposed on children and their parents when availing of State-provided  orthodontic care.

He also asked about plans to alleviate the situation.

The Minister got the Health Service Executive to reply to him.

It said patients and their parents face huge difficulties in accessing orthodontic treatment with the  HSE. “These difficulties are expressed through the very high numbers waiting for  assessment, and in both the numbers waiting for treatment and the length of time waiting for  treatment. The predominant causative factor is lack of treatment capacity in the service.” 

It also said there has been a significant reduction in treatment capacity in HSE Orthodontic Services  due to the effects of curtailment of services during the Covid-19 pandemic. The service  continued to be reduced as staff were redeployed to testing and tracing. 

The HSE said that initiatives underway to address orthodontic waiting lists include orthodontic procurement: which was introduced in 2016. It said 1702 patients have been  transferred for treatment with orthodontic contractors. An additional cohort of patients  will be transferred in 2020.

It also plans to recruit more people.