Donegal children must wait four years to see an orthodontist as their is just one of the HSE consultants in the North west according to one local TD.
Donegal Sinn Fin TD Pearse Doherty has said that public patients in Letterkenny Hospital who need to see an orthodontist must wait a year for a priority appointment and over four years for a routine appointment with many being forced to travel to Sligo for treatment.
He made his comments in response to a Parliamentary Question he tabled to the Minister for Health last week.
The Gaoth Dobhair based TD described the situation as "scandalous" and has called on the Minister for Health, Mary Coughlan, to intervene.
Doherty said: "According to a response I received from the HSE today, there is only one consultant orthodontist for the entire North West with only a one day a week outreach service being provided to Donegal patients.
He added: "I have also been informed that there is no intention, as a result of the recruitment embargo to fill the vacancy left by the Orthodontic Specialists in Letterkenny General Hospital. Because of this patients who require treatment must wait a year for a priority appointment or over four years for a routine appointment.
"This is a scandalous situation and it is one which will have a very severe impact on patients, particularly children. It is well known that improper dental treatment during childhood can lead to self esteem and oral hygiene issues in later life.
"I am calling on Tnaiste Mary Coughlan, in her new role as Minister for Health and Children to intervene to ensure that the children of Donegal have access adequate dental treatment in a timely manner," he concluded.