Five-year wait for HSE orthodontic treatment

The HSE has commissioned an independent review of orthodontic services after it was revealed that some children have been on waiting lists since 2008.

It is estimated that between 15,000 and 20,000 children and teenagers are waiting for treatment, with the HSE moratorium on recruitment being held up as one of the major reasons for the delays.

HSE operations manager Willie McAllister revealed that some patients who have been deemed eligible for orthodontic treatment have been waiting since January 2008. He blamed the new eligibility guidelines adopted in 2007 by the Department of Health, which increased the waiting lists by about 35 per cent.

Speaking in a parliamentary reply to Fine Gael’s Heather Humphreys TD, he said: “We did not receive additional staff to manage this increase.

Additionally, we have lost a number of clinical staff and they have not been replaced. “We have been in long discussions with the HSE National Lead for Oral Health, who is aware of the problems we are facing.

We are preparing a submission requesting funding for the lower-priority cases to be treated by private orthodontists. “We are also preparing a submission to request that other HSE areas that have higher orthodontic staffing levels agree to accept children from HSE north east.”

Speaking about the HSE’s commissioning of an independent review of orthodontic services, Health Minister James Reilly said: “The outcome of this review will give guidance as to what changes will be desirable to provide the best possible model of care delivery.”

Published: 22 November, 2013 at 18:19