211 Clare Patients continue to wait for Orthodontic treatment – BREEN

July 30th, 2008 - Pat Breen

According to figures obtained by Deputy Pat Breen T.D. Fine Gael’s Deputy Spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Clare T.D. from the HSE there are currently 211 Clare patients on the public waiting lists awaiting orthodontic treatment. 185 of those patients are awaiting treatment for less than 12 months, 20 patients are waiting between 12-24 months, with 6 patients waiting 24-36 months.

Deputy Breen claims that this is only a “marginal decrease” since 2005 when there were 300 patients on the waiting list and while the majority of those waiting “we are told have to wait less than 12 months”, Deputy Breen fears that these figures do not represent the true picture with many cash-strapped families having no option but to seek private treatment. “Many families though cannot afford private treatment which can range from €2000 to €5000.”

“Best practice in orthodontic treatment recommends that children should visit an orthodontist as soon as a problem is noticed. An early examination allows the orthodontist to plan treatment to give maximum improvement; early intervention and treatment prevent more serious problems from developing, however, if a child has to wait 3 years for treatment the possibility of avoiding future problems is significantly diminished.”

“Children awaiting orthodontic treatment often face the additional torment of having to run the gauntlet of bullies. Several reports on orthodontic services in Ireland found that comments concerning the teeth are very hurtful and that many of these children are more likely to be the victims of bullying. The solution to this is being able to bring your child for an assessment and treatment that will resolve the problem and restore their self-confidence without having to wait years for either the assessment or the treatment.”

“In spite of numerous commitments children continue to wait for orthodontic treatment and the Government has clearly failed to grabble with this problem, patients are sick to the teeth of waiting for treatment and it is time that the Government delivered on their commitment to eliminate waiting lists.”