Direct Access Has Been Granted to all Dental Hygienists

Nowadays, the barrier to direct access to all dental hygienist has been removed. This decision has been finalized due to the realization of its effect on patient’s safety. In the previous years, each member of the dental team was obliged to work under the supervision of a dentist. It only means that patients should meet the dentist first before they can be treated by other members of the group. It was a long battle for to be granted the Direct Access Dental Hygienists!

But on May 1, 2013, the Council decided to break the rule concerning direct access. This decision was in favour of most dental health professionals, primarily dental hygienists. If you are a patient, you can now directly visit your dental hygienist and avail his or her service without the need to visit your chosen dentist. This decision will not only benefit the dental hygienist but also the patients especially those who find visiting a dentist before consulting a dental hygienist quite inconvenient. It lets you save time and money too.

What is Direct Access?

Direct Access pertains to giving the opportunity for patients to choose whether they want to seek help and consult a dental care professional without consulting their dentist first.

Who Can Treat Patients Direct?

Now, the dental hygienist can start carrying out their entire scope of practice with no prescription coming from a dentist since their patients are now allowed to visit them directly. It eliminates the need for them to verify that their patients have visited their dentists first before them.

All dental hygienists should be confident enough that they possess the required skills, knowledge and competencies needed in treating patients directly. Those registrants who became eligible since 2002 encompassed the whole scope of practice in their training. However, those who were trained before the year 2002 might not be able to cover everything. Most of them will be required to undergo top-up training, CPD & experience.

Those dental hygienists who became eligible before the year 2002 and those who don’t apply their skills today are required to review or take a refresher course to make sure that they are fully competent and prepared enough to take all responsibilities and duties associated with their scope of practice.

What Rules Direct Access Dental Hygienists Have To Follow?

All dental hygienist are requested to keep in mind the following:

  • All registrants should continue to work within their scope of practice without the need to consider these changes.
  • All registrations are needed to be trained, competent as well as indemnified for any tasks that they undertake.
  • All registrants should be determined to follow the set of standards that has been given by GDC. These standards are all relevant to the entire dental team.
  • Professionals in the dental care industry don’t have to provide direct access. It is not included in the privilege that has been granted to them.

However, this new rule about direct access comes with another condition. This is not mandatory so those who want to see their patients directly may follow this standard. But, for those dentists and dental hygienists who are more comfortable with the usual working arrangement, they may pursue it. Maybe your dentist and dental hygienist follow this new rule. It’s the right time for you to find out.

The article was written by Ms Vaida Buksnaityte – Dental Hygienist, Oris Oral Health Centre