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British Dental Journal 215, 545 (2013)
Published online: 6 December 2013 | doi:10.1038/sj.bdj.2013.1154

Direct access service pilot approved in Wales

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Welsh Government Health Minister Mark Drakeford has given the go ahead for a pilot scheme to develop a direct access service run by dental care professionals (DCPs) in the Community Dental Service (CDS) in Betsi Cadwaladr and Hywel Dda Health Boards.

The new pilot scheme aims to enable DCPs to deliver dental care for patients, make more clinical time available for dentists, improve services for patients and provide a robust upward referral system.

Many patients in the CDS with high decay rates are reviewed by dentists on a four-monthly basis: a significant portion of a dentist's clinical time. Often this interval period slips because of other patient priorities. Some of this time is spent making diagnoses and prescribing radiographs and prescription-only medicines, roles currently only within the scope of a dentist. However, a significant amount of this time is spent monitoring oral hygiene, giving toothbrushing instruction, discussing diet and applying topical fluoride, all of which could be done by DCPs.

The new pilot scheme should also enable additional patients to access assessment and diagnosis with a dentist more quickly.

A full evaluation of the scheme will be undertaken.

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