A TEENAGER has been told he faces an 18-month wait to have dental treatment.
Now his angry mother has hit out at long waiting times for children and young people's dental treatment.
Rawthorpe woman Glynnis Bellamy is furious that her 14-year-old son, Jason, has to wait such a long time to get braces fitted - unless the family pays to go private.
Jason's regular dentist decided he needed braces and referred him to an orthodontist in Huddersfield in February 2005.
After his initial appointment at the orthodontist, Jason was told he would have to wait nine months for braces to be fitted.
However, when the nine months was up, he was told he would have to wait another three months - taking his appointment to February this year.
Then, when Mrs Bellamy rang to check the appointment, she was told Jason would have to wait until May.
She rang the orthodontist last week, only to be told he will now have to wait until August.
Mrs Bellamy was told that if she paid £1,500 for private treatment, Jason would be seen within a month.
But she cannot afford this.
She said: "Class appears to be governing services.
"It seems if you have plenty of money you get in straight away and that's why the list is getting longer, because these people are jumping the queue.
"Jason is 14 now and it is a two-year treatment. Children who are maybe 11 or 12 can afford to wait a few more months, but he can't.
"You don't want to be walking around with braces after you are 16 - which is what will happen.
"He doesn't smile as it is because he doesn't want to show his teeth. It will be worse when he's older."
Mrs Bellamy said she did not blame the orthodontist for the problem, but the waiting list system.
She wants it changed so that older children needing urgent treatment take priority.
Mrs Bellamy works for the NHS as an auxiliary bank nurse, as does her 26-year-old daughter Emma.
But she said the whole family feels short changed by the health service.
She has written twice to Huddersfield MP Barry Sheerman, asking what can be done about waiting list systems.
She said: "We work for the NHS but we don't agree with everything that is happening.
"I don't know if it's a case that there is not enough money to get orthodontists to get the waiting lists down or if there is some other reason.
"I don't think Jason is a unique case. I'm sure there's plenty of other people that have problems. This is an appalling service that we are paying tax for."
A spokeswoman for South Huddersfield and Huddersfield Central Primary Care Trusts - which commission dental services - said waiting lists are long because of a shortage of orthodontists.
She said: "We provide the best NHS service we can within the resources that are available to us.
"We would like to increase the provision of orthodontics over the coming months and years but at this moment, we are unable to do so.
"There is a national shortage of orthodontics, together with lack of resources."
She added that it is not unethical for a dentist or orthodontist to take private paying patients if they want to be seen more quickly than they would be on the NHS.