Direct access opened to dental therapists and hygienists

  • Date: 17 January 2023

DENTAL therapists and hygienists can now provide direct access to NHS care, NHS England has said.

New guidance states that “NHS England is satisfied that dental therapists (DTs) and dental hygienists (DHs) can provide direct access to NHS care where that care is within the General Dental Council scope of practice, if they are qualified, competent, and indemnified to do so.”

The guidance said there had previously been a “widespread misunderstanding” that direct access was only possible for private dental care, and that an NHS course of treatment could only be opened and closed by a dentist on the NHS performer list for England.

The clarification follows the introduction of changes to the dental contract in October 2022.

Despite the move, NHS England said that a dentist’s performer’s ID will still be required on FP17 forms until “additional proposed changes” are finalised and approved.

They also emphasised that: “Dentists remain the only members of the dental team who can carry out the full range of dental treatments and supply and administer a full range of prescription-only medicines, including local anaesthesia.”

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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