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.