13th May 2022, 19:14
There are 1,700 children currently waiting to see a dentist for their first check-up.
In answer to GBC questions, the Government said the Pandemic has decimated dentistry globally with the backlog created from the cancellation of routine appointments adding, there is a need to prioritise those patients, working within Public Health recommendations.
The GHA says the dentistry service is at capacity with appointments being offered to those who are most needy, as well as daily spaces for emergencies, including weekends and bank holidays.
Those who require treatments, such as fillings, will take priority over others requesting routine check-ups.
GBC requested information on the number of dentists currently available. The GHA says there are six, plus one vacancy for a Consultant Orthodontist, and there are also six dental nurses.
Pre-pandemic, there were five dentists, but there was one Consultant Orthodontist in place. Now that role is currently being covered by the existing dentists until the position is filled. Therefore, it says the service is continuing, with new referrals prioritised. If clinically appropriate, then an appointment is provided in approximately 10-12 weeks.
The GHA says it’s very keen to address the current waiting times and is in the process of securing additional help to reduce those lists.
GBC has also requested further information on the waiting times for routine check-ups and orthodontics, and is awaiting a response.