Dáil Éireann - Volume 511 - 23 November, 1999

Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.

234. Mrs. Owen asked the Minister for Health and Children if his Department has been requested by the Eastern Health Board for any additional resources or assistants in the solving of difficulties with regard to the delivery of orthodontic treatment in the board's area; the proposals, if any, he has to increase resources for this service in view of the lengthy waiting list and the long waiting times for treatment; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [24425/99]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Cowen): The provision of orthodontic services and the maintenance of waiting lists for treatment are the statutory responsibility of the health boards. The orthodontic services continue to be developed in accordance with the dental health action plan. The action plan provides for the development by each health board of a consultant-led orthodontic service which ensures a service of high quality [675] and high service levels. My Department has made additional resources available to the health boards to assist with the development of their orthodontic services in accordance with the dental health action plan.

The Eastern Health Board has made significant reductions in their waiting lists and waiting times for orthodontic assessment since the introduction of a consultant-led service in September 1996. The board is continuing its efforts to effect further improvements in the service and in this regard a second regional orthodontic unit will be developed in Dublin South East. I have approved a capital grant of £1.065 million for this purpose. I am also considering proposals from the board for the development of a further regional orthodontic unit to be sited on the campus of Beaumont Hospital. The development of these units will make a significant contribution to the orthodontic service in the Eastern Health Board area.