The General Dental Council (GDC) wants to hear views as it considers whether patients should be allowed direct access to different types of dental professionals.
At the moment, both the ‘Standards Guidance’ and ‘Scope of Practice’ make it clear that every member of the dental team must work on the prescription of a dentist.
This means that patients must be seen by a dentist before being treated by any other member of the dental team.
The only exception to this is with clinical dental technicians; they are able to provide full dentures to patients who have no teeth without the need for a prescription.
The GDC is now considering whether to remove this requirement and to allow ‘direct access’ for all patients.
This would mean that patients could see other members of the dental team without seeing a dentist first, for example a dental hygienist or therapist.
A Task and Finish Group has met for the first time and will ensure that any decision made is based on robust evidence.
The Task and Finish Group wants to hear from as many stakeholders as possible and a short ‘call for ideas’ questionnaire has been published on the GDC’s website www.gdc-uk.org
The results from this call for ideas will be analysed and considered by the Direct Access Task and Finish Group at its meeting on 2 July 2012.
The Group has invited a number of key stakeholders to come and give evidence to it within the next month and has also commissioned a literature review covering the available evidence.