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Written Answers. - Orthodontic Service.

Wednesday, 6 February 2002

Dáil Éireann Debate
Vol. 547 No. 4

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 154. Ms Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall  asked the Minister for Health and Children Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin  the amount of funding which has been or will be allocated in 2002 to the Northern Area Health Board for contracting orthodontic treatments and orthodontic assessments; the total number of persons who will be seen in each category as a result of this funding; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3931/02]

Minister for Health and Children (Mr. Martin): Information on Micheál Martin Zoom on Micheál Martin The provision of orthodontic treatment to eligible persons is the responsibility of the Eastern Regional Health Authority and the health boards in the first instance.

Additional funding of €2.971 million was provided to the Eastern Regional Health Authority in 2001 for orthodontic services of which €2.044 million was for an orthodontic initiative in the authority. The chief executive officer of the ERHA has advised me that under the initiative, the Northern Area Health Board has engaged the services of specialist orthodontic practitioners from outside its own area. The board announced in October 2001 that up to 300 patients from its orthodontic treatment waiting list would be treated under these arrangements, beginning last November. The chief executive officer for the ERHA has also informed me that the 2002 budget for orthodontic services in the NAHB is currently being finalised.

For 2002, my Department has provided additional funding of €0.662 million to the ERHA for orthodontic services of which €0.405 million was for an orthodontic training programme. Four dentists from the authority commenced their training for specialist in orthodontics qualifications last October. Furthermore, my Department has funded the appointment of a director of specialist training for the Irish Committee for Specialist Training in Dentistry through the Post Graduate Medical and Dental Board. The director has taken up duty and will play a pivotal role in assisting the different agencies involved in dental specialist training programmes.

The chief executive officer of the ERHA has also informed me that at the end of the December 2001 quarter, there were 3,776 patients in orthodontic treatment in the area administered by the authority. This is an increase of 488 patients in orthodontic treatment when compared with the corresponding figure at the end of the September 2001 quarter. I expect that the number of patients in orthodontic treatment will continue to increase as the measures in the orthodontic initiative take effect.


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