Thousands Of Children Waiting For Orthodontic Treatment In Ireland

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Thousands of children in Ireland are on the waiting list for orthodontic treatment, according to recent figures. The latest statistics show that some children have been waiting for treatment since 2008.

According to figures, between 15,000 and 20,000 children are on the waiting list for treatment and another review of orthodontic services has been ordered.

Willie McAllister, operation manager at the Health Service Executive, said that some children who are classed as eligible for orthodontic treatment have been on the waiting list since 2008. In 2007, the Department of Health adjusted the criteria for treatment and this increased the proportion of people who were eligible for treatment by 35 per cent.

Mr McAllister said that there has been no increase in staff numbers to cope with the increased demand for orthodontic treatment and this has lead to lengthy waiting lists. He added that the service has been in discussion with the HSE National Lead for Oral Health and efforts are being made to tackle the waiting list, ensuring that those in greatest need are prioritised.

Currently, orthodontists have at least 300 active patients at the same time, but there are simply not enough orthodontists to cope with the demand.

Health minister, James Reilly said that the Health Service Executive has now commissioned an independent review of orthodontic services which will hopefully identify problems and find ways of addressing these issues.

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