Dental Hygienists and Therapists Push for Prescription Authority

Dentistry Today


Dental hygienists and dental therapists in the United Kingdom soon may get approval from the National Health Service (NHS) to administer local and topical anesthetics and fluoride varnishes without a Patient Specific Directive or a Patient Group Directive from a dentist. The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) and British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) are currently working with the NHS England Chief Professionals Office to develop these exemptions to the Medicines Act, which would require both legislation and training.

According to the BSDHT, the inability of these personnel to supply or administer these medications without a prescription prolongs treatment for patients. When the dentist is unavailable to provide these prescriptions, for example, treatment may be delayed and patients may be left in pain, advised to return another day when the prescription is ready. These restrictions also then inhibit dental hygienists and dental therapists in their professional development, reports the organization, as patients are dissatisfied with their care.

Now, the BSDHT and BADT are seeking input from dental hygienists and therapists. The groups want to know how the inability to supply or administer these medicines has impeded hygienists and therapists from doing their day-to-day jobs. For instance, has it ever been necessary to send away a patient with incomplete treatment because a prescription was not available? Hygienists and therapists are encouraged to send their stories to

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