Direct access decision misguided, says BDA

Direct access decision misguided, says BDA
Speaking for the British Dental Association, Dr Judith Husband, Chair Education, Ethics and the Dental Team Committee, has condemned the decision by the GDC to allow direct access to DCPs. She said: “This is a misguided decision that fails to consider best practice in essential continuity of care, patient choice and cost-effectiveness, and weakens team-working in dentistry which is demonstrated to be in patients’ best interests”.

Dr Husband continued: “Dental hygienists and therapists are highly-valued and competent members of the dental team, but they do not undertake the full training that dentists do and on their own are not able to provide the holistic, comprehensive care that patients need and expect. Our fear is that this could lead to health problems being missed in patients who choose to access hygiene and therapy appointments directly.

“The decision also ignores the stated limitations of the literature review on which the decision has been based and goes against the findings of the GDC’s own patient survey last year, which found that just three in ten people favoured a move to allow direct access.

“The undue haste with which the decision is to be implemented does nothing to alleviate the impression that this is an inadequately-considered decision that is being pushed through without proper reference to the risks it creates.” 

The GDC approved a recommendation that hygienists and therapists should be permitted to carry out their full scope of practice without prescription and without the patient having to see a dentist first. The BDA had campaigned against such a change, stressing the importance of coordination of patient care in a dentist-led team.  This focuses on the need for patients to see a dentist first for a comprehensive oral health assessment and treatment plan to provide them with an appropriate choice of the full range of treatment available to them.

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