Following the General Dental Council’s decision to remove the barrier to direct access, according to Kevin O’Brien, Chair of the GDC: ‘This decision has been made with patient safety as an upmost priority. Registrants treating patients direct must only do so if appropriately trained, competent and indemnified. They should also ensure that there are adequate onward referral arrangements in place and they must make clear to the patient the extent of their scope of practice and not work beyond it.’
This has prompted many dental professionals to ask questions on what direct access means for them, and how they can work together within the wider dental team to further enhance patient care.
Health Education North West and the Wales Deanery each partnered with Colgate Oral Health Network to host two complimentary evening events. The first event was held in Manchester at Old Trafford football ground, and was opened by Dr Barry Cockcroft, Chief Dental Officer, England. The second event was introduced by Mr David Thomas, Chief Dental Officer, Wales and took place at the Millennium Stadium, Cardiff.
Each event was chaired by the local Director of Postgraduate Dental Education, Nicholas Taylor for Health Education Northwest and Jon Cowpe for Wales Deanery, and the presenters delivered an update on the implications of direct access in primary dental care. Current topical questions including NHS GDS Contract and NHS Regulations, Patient Group Directions, Scope of Practice for Radiography, and How to Make the Financial Model Work were also addressed.
This was followed by facilitated group work considering current and future scenarios.
Both events generated a great deal of interest and were significantly oversubscribed.
Delegate feedback from both events indicated the majority of attendees learnt a great deal and would as a result of these events change their professional practice. More events are being planned across the UK for this autumn, and details will available shortly.