[Sinn Fein]

3rd July 2002

Ellis expresses alarm at growing orthodontic waiting list

Cllr Dessie Ellis has expressed alarm at the growing waiting list for Orthodontic treatment in the North Area Health Board. The waiting period has now gone up to 5 to 6 years for standard Category 2 treatment.

``Just this week a woman from Crestfield, Santry who contacted me, has a son on the waiting list since May 1997, when he was 13. She has been told that it may be late 2003 before her son gets his necessary procedure. By that time he will be over 18 and the treatment will be much less effective than if it had been done on time.

I have heard of other cases where teenagers have had to wait over 7 years for orthodontic treatment, by which time it is often too late and the original problem can't be rectified. Of course, in this 2-tier health service, if a parent can afford ?2000, then it is possible to jump the queue, but, if you don't have the money, too bad.

What is really worrying parents of orthodontic patients now is Mr Ahern's statement that ``corrective measures'', ie, cutbacks (which were never mentioned before the election) will have to be implemented. After waiting up to 6 years, their children may now face further intolerable delays if cuts are applied to the orthodontic service''

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