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Five-year wait time for orthodontics treatment

News | Published:

ISLANDERS – primarily children – are waiting more than five years to receive orthodontic treatment at the Hospital due to staff shortages.

Waiting times for dental treatment at the General Hospital have been described as 'unacceptably high'

Until recently, the wait for an orthodontics consultation at the Hospital was two years, followed by a further four years to receive treatment.

A government spokeswoman said that the wait for a consultation was now down to ten months, but they have admitted the average four year and ten month wait for treatment is ‘unacceptably high’.

Despite the long waiting periods for orthodontics – treatment for malpositioned teeth and jaws – the waiting times for other dental services at the Hospital have almost halved, from 55 weeks in August last year to 28 weeks this year.

The drop in consultation waiting times for orthodontics is due to a visiting UK consultant who sees new referrals only, the spokeswoman said, adding that the Health and Community Services Department is seeking to employ a second orthodontic consultant.

However, a shortage of consultants across the British Isles is making the task trickier, according to a government spokeswoman.

She said: ‘The waiting time for a newly referred orthodontic patient has reduced from 24 months in June 2018 to currently ten months.’

She added: ‘If treatment is required, the patient is added to the treatment waiting list.

‘The current waiting time for treatment is four years and ten months, which Health and Community Services acknowledge is unacceptably high.

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“It is important to clarify that treatment involves a process of multiple clinic appointments over a period of approximately 18 months to 24 months per patient.

‘HCS is continuing in its efforts to recruit a second orthodontic consultant, which would significantly reduce our treatment waiting times by increasing the number of clinics per week.

‘However, there is a shortage of orthodontist consultants across the British Isles making it difficult to appoint someone to the post.’

One parent, whose daughter is having to wait until next year for an appointment believes the waiting times are an epidemic that need properly funding by the government.

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Sabrina Matthews said: ‘We’re still in the process of it all. We’ve had our consultation and because my daughter still has baby teeth to fall out our appointment is in May 2020.

‘We have her appointment already confirmed. I’ve no idea of what will happen in May?

‘But it’s definitely been a long time. I’m sure it’s due to only having one orthodontist from the UK coming over once a month, as there’s no proper facilities here.

‘She’s not in pain thank goodness! But it’s more about the how it affects children as they go into secondary school and get bullied for it.

‘We definitely need the government to fund this epidemic.’

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