The General Dental Council (GDC) is reported to have decided that a paper should be drawn up for its next meeting on 27 September, outlining proposals for direct access to dental care professionals (DCPs).
The council meeting was held in Birmingham to avoid London because of the clash with the Olympics.
It heard that an examination of the evidence base justified the introduction of this measure.
‘Direct access’ means patients having access to treatment or services provided by registered DCPs without referral by a dentist.
The paper – to be put to the next meeting – will include proposals for a consultation period in the last months of this year.
If no significant objections are raised, then direct access could be introduced in March next year.
However, education provision will need to be factored in to enable hygienists and therapists to acquire the demonstrable competencies to be able to examine and triage patients and make any subsequent necessary referral.
The Council also debated the new structure of the Council which will reduce from 24 to 12 appointed members in the autumn of next year.