Delays in the recruitment process for orthodontists are resulting in ever-increasing waiting times for teenagers who need orthodontic treatment, according to Galway East TD Seán Canney.
‘The wait time for orthodontic treatment in county Galway is currently 3.5 years, which is totally unacceptable. The ever-increasing wait time is largely down to the delays in filling vacancies. At the moment two consultant posts are vacant (one retirement and one career break), in the Orthodontic Service at University Hospital Galway.
‘Applications for the posts closed at the end of March. The shortlisting process took place in July and the interviews are expected to be held in September. As well as the consultant positions, there is also a vacancy for a orthodontic therapist, which will be filled shortly.
‘Any business which allowed this delay in the appointment of key staff would be long gone out of business. If applications closed at the end of March, then interviews should have been held in April, instead of September. There is no sense of urgency within the HSE on this topic, instead I believe that budgets are being balanced by delaying the appointment of key staff.
‘The losers in this are the teenagers of county Galway who require and are entitled to orthodontic treatment. Their voices are not being heard. They have to endure their teenage years with teeth in need of orthodontic treatment while their peers whose parents can afford private treatment, have had their teeth seen to years earlier.
‘Every week I am contacted by distressed parents who are appalled to learn that the current wait time is 3.5 years. Often young people are in the senior cycle in school when the orthodontic treatment starts and will have finished school by the time it ends.
‘I have raised this issue on multiple occasions with the Minister for Health and the HSE. The consultant posts in Galway need to be filled as a matter of urgency and any new posts that arise must also be filled without delay.’