U.K. hygienists may be allowed to supply meds

Hygienists and dental therapists would be allowed to administer prescription medicines under a proposal being considered by the U.K. government, according to a story on dentistry.co.uk.

For practical purposes, the proposed rule would let these practitioners sell or supply fluoride supplements and toothpastes with fluoride content of 2,800 ppm and 5,000 ppm, and administer parenteral or local anesthesia.

Currently in the U.K., hygienists scale and plane, give hygiene and diet advice, and place temporary restorations. Dental therapists additionally place simple permanent restorations and preformed crowns, extract primary teeth, and provide pulp treatments. Both are trained to give injections, but can only administer them when they are prescribed by a dentist or physician.

Under the proposal, these practitioners could supply and administer prescription drugs under patient group directions, which are prescriptions that dentists and physicians write for groups of patients rather than individuals.

The change would require amending National Health Service regulations in Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, but not England. The government is seeking comment until November 20.

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