The Government must to take immediate action to address the long orthodontic waiting lists in the Midlands.
Sinn Féin TD for the Offaly and North Tipperary constituency, Carol Nolan said: “Recent figures obtained by me from the HSE shows that there are 1,854 people on the waiting list for orthodontic treatment The majority of these, 1,012, are waiting more than one year for treatment."
“Over 500 patients are waiting more than three years for treatment with 353 waiting more than four years," she added.
“These figures are shocking and completely unacceptable. They show clearly that the chronic underfunding of dental provision is having a real impact on the lives of patients."
“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."
“This Government had choices. In our alternative budget Sinn Féin proposed to recruit 105 additional Public Dental Service Staff, including dentists, orthodontists and dental nurses at a cost of just €3.44 million."
“That is less than the €5 million the Taoiseach has invested in his spin machine, the strategic communications unit.
“People waiting years for dental work do not need spin from this government – they need action. I am calling on the Minister to ensure that the resources required are put into the service in order to reduce these waiting times as a matter of urgency,” she said.