Cork South Central TD, Michael McGrath has said that the dental health of thousands of Cork children is being put at risk by scandalous waiting lists for assessment and treatment.
Deputy McGrath was commenting after receiving an update from the Health Service Executive which shows that 1339 children are waiting for assessment with 1944 waiting for treatment at the end of March 2018.
“To make matters worse, of the 1944 waiting for treatment, 1216 are waiting longer than 12 months for treatment. This follows on from a long wait just to be assessed.
“We are risking their future dental health by allowing such long waits for treatment which have been deemed necessary by their dentists.
“Children in the CHO4 area, which covers Cork and Kerry, consistently suffer from some of the longest waiting times for assessment and treatment across a wide variety of specialism.
“As part of their reply to me, the HSE admitted that ‘the CHO4 area has to live within its resource allocation for the service.’ It’s clear to me that there isn’t enough funding being made available to deal with these backlogs. Until the right level of funding is made available, children in Cork will continue to suffer from inexcusable waiting times.
“The longer a child waits for assessment and then treatment, the worse their conditions will become. Ultimately, it will cost the State considerably more to deal with these dental conditions as a result.
“The Cork area needs a targeted plan that will actively address waiting times for assessment and treatment. Hoping for change is not acceptable. Excessive waiting times are causing severe anxiety and concern to parents and children alike,” concluded McGrath.