The green light has been given by NHS England Chief Professionals Office for dental hygienists and dental therapists to pursue the quest to be able to provide prescription only medicines (POM), specifically local anaesthetic, topical anaesthetic and fluoride varnish, to patients without having to first get a prescription from a dentist.

This is considered an important milestone in the continued development of the role of dental hygienists and therapists in the UK.

Over several months, the British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) and the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) have collaborated to undertake a scoping process with NHS England, assessing the need for use of further mechanisms to administer or supply POM for the profession.

The BADT and BSDHT are pursuing ‘exemptions to the Medicines Act’. Exemptions would mean that a list of prescription only medicines would be specified in legislation for dental therapists and dental hygienists to administer or supply.

In the future, after necessary training, this means dental therapists and dental hygienists would be able to provide local anaesthetic and fluoride in their daily practice without a Patient Specific Directive (PSD) or Patient Group Directive (PGD).

Help needed

The BSDHT and BADT now need the considerable voice of the profession to ensure this vital change happens. To do so, they need to build their case of the need for the use of exemptions across this profession.

The societies want to hear how the inability to supply or administer certain medicines has so far impeded your ability to do your day-to-day job. Have you had to send away a patient with incomplete treatment because you cannot get a prescription?

Please email [email protected] with your experience and the impact it had on you, your patient and your practice. Speak to your colleagues, and ask them to share their experiences.

While there are no guarantees about the end result, the profession must fight hard for what it needs; help the societies provide evidence for the future of the profession.

Employing a project lead to drive this project forwards will take time and resources, so the BADT and BSDHT will also be fundraising via Crowdfunding. To help fund this project, visit the website: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/SubscribeToprescribe.