Dáil Éireann - Volume 605 - 28 June, 2005
Written Answers - Health Services.
Mr. Cregan Mr. Cregan
243. Mr. Cregan asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Health and Children her views on the recommendations of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children regarding the recent report on orthodontics; and if she will give a timeframe for implementation of same. [22529/05]
Ms Harney Ms Harney
Ms Harney:The recent report by the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, JOCHC, is a follow up to its earlier report of 2002, The Orthodontic Service in Ireland. As the committee makes clear, the report should be read as an appendix to the 2002 report.
A number of measures have been adopted to improve orthodontic services on a national basis. The grade of specialist in orthodontics has been created in the orthodontic service. My Department and the Health Service Executive, HSE, are currently funding 13 dentists from various HSE areas for specialist in orthodontics qualifications at training programmes in Ireland and at three separate universities in the United Kingdom. These 13 dentists are in addition to the nine dentists who successfully completed their training and have taken up duties with the HSE. These measures will complement the other structural changes being introduced into the orthodontic service, including the creation of an auxiliary grade of orthodontic therapist to work in the orthodontic area.
Furthermore, the commitment of the Department to training development is manifested in the funding provided to both the training of specialist clinical staff and the recruitment of a professor in orthodontics for the Cork Dental School. This appointment at the school will facilitate the development of an approved training programme leading to specialist qualification in orthodontics. My Department has given approval in principle to a proposal to further substantially improve training facilities for orthodontics at the school, which will ultimately support an enhanced teaching and treatment service to the wider region under the leadership of the professor of orthodontics.
My Department has been informed by the HSE that at the end of the March 2005 quarter, there were 22,818 patients receiving orthodontic treatment in the public orthodontic service. This means that there are over twice as many patients getting orthodontic treatment as there are waiting to be treated and more than 7,000 extra patients  are getting treatment from the HSE since the end of the June 2001 quarter. My Department has written to the HSE regarding the latest JOCHC report and will meet it to discuss the recommendations made in the report.
Dáil Éireann 605 Written Answers Health Services.