THE GDC is now considering whether to allow patients direct access to other dental care professionals without the prescription of a dentist.
Such a change would mean that patients could see other members of the dental team – such as dental hygienists or therapists -- without seeing a dentist first.
Currently both the Standards for dental professionals and Scope of practice guidelines make it clear that every member of the dental team must work on the prescription of a dentist. The only exception to this is clinical dental technicians who are able to provide full dentures to patients without the need for a prescription.
A Direct Access Task and Finish Group has been appointed and is looking for views from dentists and other DCPs via a short 'call for ideas' questionnaire published on the GDC website. The Group has also invited a number of key stakeholders to provide evidence within the next month and has commissioned a literature review.
The results from this call for ideas will be analysed and considered by the group at its meeting on 2 July 2012.