The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children Launch Report on the Orthodontic Service in Ireland

26 Feb 2002

Press Release - 26th February 2002The Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children has published a report entitled 'The Orthodontic Service in Ireland'. The report is the culmination of a number of months of research and consultation with all interested parties in the form of written and oral submissions. Among those consulted with were the Department of Health and Children; the Health Boards; the Dental Council; the Dental Schools in Dublin and Cork; the Orthodontic Society; the Dental Council and the Royal College of Surgeons and individual consultants.The comprehensive report provides a broad introduction to orthodontics and addresses the pertinent issues relating to professional relationships; orthodontic service strategy; guidelines for prioritising service; training & manpower levels; recruitment of personnel; delivery of orthodontic services and orthodontic fees. The report contains 32 wide-ranging recommendations focusing directly on the issues detailed above.From the wide ranging series of recommendations the report recommends that -An expert panel consisting of three persons be established to resolve the fractious relationships within orthodontics so that an efficient, effective and professional service can be delivered to those children who qualify for orthodontic care.The Department of Health & Children to prepare an Orthodontic Action Plan within the next six months and the proposed legislation for an independent Health Information and Quality Authority to be enacted as a matter of urgency.Guidelines for Prioritising the Orthodontic Service to be considered by the relevant Oireachtas Committee before they are amended.Greatly enhanced training opportunities involving primary level orthodontics to be included in the Primary Dental Degree course in Dublin and Cork; State funding for up to 18 orthodontic post graduate training places in the Dublin Dental Hospital and School; significant increases in specialist training places and greater access to courses provided in UK and Northern Ireland Dental Colleges.Specialist manpower levels based on a caseload of 250 completed cases each year per specialist orthodontist.A new and dynamic recruitment strategy that determines the number of and qualifications required by specialist orthodontists and seeks to attract the relevant personnel through recruitment campaigns both here and abroad.Enhanced delivery proposals such as a review by each Health Board of waiting assessment lists; an automated appointment system and an accurate system of outcome measurement.The Committee are dissatisfied with how the orthodontic service is operating at present and believes that various key stakeholders are not providing a service to meet public needs. The Committee asserts that because the interests of the nation's children are paramount the recommendations contained in this Report must be implemented immediately. If significant progress isn't made in overcoming the difficulties the Committee will consider this matter again as a priority issue.Click here to visit the Joint Committee on Health and Children's website