Fianna Fáil TD for Donegal North East Charlie McConalogue says the current waiting list for orthodontic treatment at Letterkenny General Hospital is completely unacceptable. Figures released to the Donegal Deputy reveal that 177 people, the majority of whom are children, have been waiting more than a year to see a consultant.
Deputy McConalogue commented, “The length of waiting times for orthodontic treatment at Letterkenny General Hospital is more evidence of the mishandling of the health service by this Government, and more particularly Minister James Reilly.
“Patients in Donegal, and across the North West are being forced on to long waiting lists for neurological services, rheumatology services and orthopaedic services. Now orthodontic treatment can be added to those ever expanding lists.
“The majority of people having to wait for orthodontic treatment are children, and in many cases are in severe pain. It is not too much to ask that our children receive the care they need within a reasonable amount of time.
“Across the HSE West region, there are almost 5,000 people on a waiting list for an orthodontic appointment. Nearly 2,000 of them have been waiting more than 12 months, and in some instances people have been on the same list for up to 4 years.
“This Government has been leading a sustained attack on local health services, especially in the North West region. Patients in Donegal are expected to either wait or travel to receive essential medical services. This is a completely unacceptable expectation and has been brought about solely by the extensive cutbacks forced in by Minister Reilly. His inability to balance his department’s books has exacerbated the situation, leading to reduced services, restricted access and longer waiting times”.