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Over 17,000 people waiting up to 4 years for orthodontic treatment – O’ Reilly

31 August, 2016 - by Louise O'Reilly TD

Figures released to Sinn Féin Health Spokesperson Louise O’Reilly TD show that there are 17, 024 people waiting up to four years for orthodontic treatment in Ireland. 

Deputy O’Reilly said:

“According to HSE figures, the number of patients waiting for orthodontic treatment up to four years is 17,024, and the number of patients waiting for orthodontic treatment less than two years is 11,573.

“The pressures on orthodontic services and waiting lists in this State are so great that, since April 2016, the HSE has undertaken the procurement of orthodontic services with a number of private service providers nationally. At the end of July, 590 patients had been outsourced to private service providers. Similarly, as we have seen from recently released figures on the EU Cross-border healthcare directive, orthodontics has been the second most common service and treatment availed of by Irish citizens under the scheme.

“During the recession there was a drastic scaling back across the three main fields of publicly funded dental provision – the Dental Treatment Benefit Scheme (DTBS), the Dental Treatment Service Scheme (DTSS) and the Public Dental Service. Similarly, for those with a severe need who qualify for orthodontic treatment, the wait has been getting longer. At the end of June, there were 42.5 orthodontic specialists in the HSE, with a recruitment pause in place.

“The cuts made across the dental schemes have inflicted unnecessary pain and suffering. They have caused an increase in the use of more complicated and expensive emergency treatments as a direct result of the removal of opportunities for prevention and early intervention. This further manifests in a farcical situation where we have greater demand for services, growing waiting lists, a recruitment pause at the same time that the HSE are outsourcing to private service providers and relying on a cross-border directive to provide services.

“It is important that the Minister now looks to ensuring that there are sufficient personnel in our dental and orthodontic services to meet the demand that is there. It is clear that with the demand that exists, it is not feasible to have a recruitment pause in place given that any rationale of ‘cost containment’ is offset by the fact that the HSE has been forced to outsource these treatment, as well as reimburse costs under the EU cross border healthcare directive.”

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