Travelling 80km for treatment

Criticism

The HSE is effectively placing “a gun to the head” of the parents of orthodontic patients by sending them from Dublin to Dundalk to receive treatment.

Labour TD Sean Kenny brought up the situation in his constituency during a debate in the Dail explaining that patients are being asked to travel around 80km or risk not receiving treatment.

He said: “Recently, parents of children in my constituency, who are on orthodontic waiting lists for treatment at the Ashtown Gate Dental Clinic on the Navan Road, have been notified that they should transfer to the waiting list at Louth County Hospital’s orthodontic clinic in Dundalk. This would involve considerable travel costs for parents and children, particularly as treatment can involve several return visits to the dental clinic.

“The tone of the letter concerned was effectively putting ‘a gun to their head’, in saying that they must either go to Dundalk, or face not receiving orthodontic treatment for their child.”

A spokesman for the Department of Health said: “The HSE has confirmed to the Minister that, typically, patients are offered appointments within four months in Dundalk or Navan. The current waiting time in Ashtown Gate is at least one year.

“The HSE is also exploring other options, including the option of staff travelling to other sites to alleviate the travel burden for patients.”