Consultation opens on plan to relieve NHS dental access

The government has opened a public consultation on a proposal which could see dental hygienists and therapists alleviate access issues.

The proposal is to enable dental hygienists and dental therapists to supply and administer specific medicines under exemptions without the need for a prescription.

This plan aims to make it easier for patients to get the medicines they need. It also means patients can avoid having to see additional healthcare professionals just to receive medicines.

Through this new consultation, the Department of Health and Social Care’s (DHSC) is seeking views on this proposal which will support hygienists and therapists in providing the right care to patients to reduce NHS dental delays.

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While hygienists and therapists can currently use patient group directions (PGDs) or patient specific directions (PSDs) to supply and administer specific medicines, NHS England has acknowledged that they have limitations.

This proposal will amend the Human Medicines Regulations 2012 (HMRs) to allow dental hygienists and dental therapists to supply and administer certain medicines without the need for PGDs or PSDs.

The DHSC has said this will not only improve access to NHS dentistry, but also improve job satisfaction by enabling these dental professionals to work to the full scope of their practice.

‘We urge our colleagues to respond’

Fiona Sandom is the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) chair. She said: ‘BADT are delighted that the consultation regarding changes to the Human Medicine Regulations, to permit dental hygenists and dental therapists to supply and administer certain prescription only medicines without the need for a patient specific direction (PSD) or a PGD, is open.

‘We urge our colleagues to respond before the 15 September.

‘BADT along with the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT) have been working on “exemptions” since 2014, which will allow dental therapists and dental hygienists to be able to see and treat patients via direct access, reducing the administrative burden from dentists and dental practices having to assure a PSD or a PGD is in place.

‘Being able to use exemptions will also enable patients to see the most appropriate dental professional.’

To read more and to respond to the consultation, click here.

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