Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary has called on the Health Minister to immediately intervene to reduce waiting lists and waiting times for orthodontic treatment for children in the west. New figures released to the Mayo TD reveal that there are 1,741 children on the list for orthodontic assessment and another 2,689 waiting for treatment.
Deputy Calleary said: “These figures make for shocking reading. The fact that there are almost 4,500 children on waiting lists, with some being forced to waiting up to three and a half years for a procedure, is simply unacceptable. This problem has been increasing steadily over the past number of years and is now reaching crisis point.
“Despite the fact that waiting lists have increased, there are still problems with staff numbers in the region. The Saolta Hospital Group secured approval for three consultants and three specialists but not all of these have been filled. Why are there endless issues with staffing levels at these hospitals? The Minister has to get a grip on the situation and ensure that staff are recruited to fill these important posts. It’s unfair to have children waiting for years for essential treatment because the Government is failing to find the staff.
“These delays are a major source of stress and anxiety, not only for the children themselves, but for their families. I know of cases where scheduled appointments have been cancelled and deferred for another few months. This is a damning indictment of the state of our health services.
“Minister Simon Harris cannot continue to sit back and ignore this situation. Escalating waiting lists have become a feature of our health service and it is no longer acceptable. He must now engage with the Saolta Hospital Group and ensure that essential posts are filled so that these delays can be addressed. This situation cannot be allowed to continue.”