IT APPEARS the HSE can’t catch up with the numbers of children languishing on waiting lists for orthodontic care across the country.
In parts of the country, children are still waiting up to five years for braces — as it can take years after assessment before treatment begins.
Even though a record 21,569 patients are undergoing treatment with the HSE, a total of 17,657 children are awaiting assessment for treatment or else awaiting treatment at clinics around the country.
Orthodontics is the discipline of dentistry that deals with repairing crowded or crooked teeth.
The highest numbers awaiting treatment are in the HSE West where figures stand at 4,794. In the HSE South, figures show 4,590 are on waiting lists for treatment or assessment. In Dublin North East, 2,418 are awaiting treatment or assessment.
In the South East, this figure stands at 1,661 while it is at 1,736 in the West. Dublin Mid Leinster stands at 4,194.
3,742 children completed treatment in 2003, a further 4,077 in 2004, 3,999 in 2005 and 3,918 in 2006. In 2007, this figure rose to 4,609 while in the first quarter of this year, 1,138 children completed treatment. The figures were obtained by Fine Gael TD, Bernard Durkan from the HSE following a parliamentary question to the Health Minister.
“The great scandal is that many of the people on the lists will end up paying €3,000-€10,000 on private treatment,” he said.
According to the HSE, the number of orthodontists employed in this country has increased by 308% since 2000.
The HSE is also implementing the recommendations made by the Orthodontic Review Group in their report published two years ago.
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