Notice to dental therapists and dental hygienists: legal change effective 26 June 2024

New legislation, set to take effect today (26 June), will enable dental hygienists and dental therapists across the UK to legally supply and administer specific prescription-only medicines under an exemptions mechanism, without the need for a dentist's prescription, a patient-specific direction or a patient group direction.

This new mechanism will support direct patient access to dental hygienists and therapists and enable better use of the skill mix within the dental team.

While specified medicines can legally be supplied and administered under exemptions, we expect dental hygienists and dental therapists to undertake the appropriate training to ensure they are competent to use this new mechanism. There is no obligation for dental hygienists and dental therapists to administer and supply these medicines under exemptions, and many of you may wish to continue to rely on existing mechanisms in your work instead.

What this means for dental professionals

All dental hygienists and dental therapists, regardless of previous training, experience, and qualifications, should ensure that they are appropriately trained, competent and indemnified to supply and administer specific medicines under the exemptions mechanism. This means that they should ensure they have undertaken appropriate training before supplying and administering these medicines under the new mechanism.

The importance of being trained

We expect all dental hygienists and dental therapists to be able to demonstrate successful completion of a training course. This training is crucial to ensure you have the required knowledge and skills to work safely under this new mechanism.

We strongly encourage you to select a course that follows the training curriculum developed by the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) and the British Society of Dental Hygiene & Therapy (BSDHT).

NHS England and Health Education and Improvement Wales (HEIW) are developing training courses. Further details on the timescale and how to access the training will follow shortly from each of the four nations.

For further information on this legal change, please refer to the official government consultation document.

Thank you for your cooperation and dedication to maintaining high standards in dentistry.