Fianna Fáil TD for Kildare North Frank O’Rourke has called on the Health Minister to explain what measures will be taken to alleviate unacceptably long waiting lists for orthodontic treatment in Kildare.

Deputy O’Rourke raised the matter in the Dáil yesterday after securing a Dáil debate on the issue. The Kildare TD highlighted that some patients have been waiting for over four years to receive orthodontic treatment.

“The waiting lists for orthodontic treatment are growing out of control. There are people who were seen by a consultant back in 2013 who are still waiting for their treatment. This is despite the fact that their consultant has indicated that they urgently need treatment to correct problems which are causing them serious pain,” said Deputy O’Rourke.

“I raised this matter with the Government in the Dáil and asked just what exactly is being done to address the waiting list crisis. People’s lives have been put on hold while they wait for orthodontic treatment. These people are afraid to make travel arrangements in fear that they will be offered an appointment at short notice and ultimately end up being put to the back of the waiting list. The medical conditions of a number of people have also deteriorated while they await treatment. The delays are simply unacceptable.

“There seems to be a lack of joint up thinking when it comes to addressing the waiting list crisis. For example, an orthodontic consultant resigned from his post nearly three years ago but the HSE are yet to appoint a replacement. This is at a time when the HSE should arguably be appointing more orthodontic specialists to help clear the growing waiting lists.

“The reply I received in the Dáil from Deputy Marcella Corcoran Kennedy on behalf of the Health Minister does not inspire confidence. The Government cannot give any definite timeline or commitments as to when these waiting lists will be cleared. This just isn’t good enough,” said Deputy O’Rourke.