Has direct access proved effective?


Last week, we asked the dental profession if direct access has proved effective – find out what people said here...

Last week, we asked the dental profession if direct access has proved effective – find out what people said here…

Dentistry’s Big Questions is a brand new feature exploring the hot topics of the profession.

Last week we asked the dental profession: Has direct access proved effective?

Based on our poll, 79% of people believe it has proved effective and 21% thinks it hasn’t.

Find out what was said below…

Scroll to the bottom for next week’s Big Question.

Rachael England, public health and education manager at FDI World Dental Federation

It depends what you are defining as ‘effective’? In my opinion, direct access (DA) created an additional route for patients to enter the healthcare system, and this was utilised to some extent. However, without prescribing rights DA was not effective at creating the autonomous clinician.

Additionally, there still persists confusion around what DHTs can provide within DA and an anxiousness seen in requests for support in social media groups. Despite these concerns, DHTs provide safe, effective healthcare within the team and continue to work closely with their colleagues.

I will be interested to see how the landcape changes over the next 10 years now prescribing rights have been brought into legislation.

Sakina Syed, dental hygienist

Yes, if you have systems and processes in place, I believe your model can work very well.

It’s worked in two scenarios: in a direct access led practice and as an individual offering direct access from a practice. There are many successful direct access based practices run by dental hygienists. With exemptions due to come in place possibly later in this year, that little hurdle will be easier.

Bravo to those of you have set up your clinics.

Gemma Cowen, dental therapist

Direct access will only prove effective when dentists embrace the changes and the public is more aware of the wider dental team.

Nishma Sharma, dentist

Absolutely, yes… but not when muddled with the murky water of the NHS – this confuses things hugely.

Paul Gallop, dentist and owner of Motcomb Street Dentist

We use direct access within our practice. Many patients who work in London just come in to see the hygienist.

We of course always get them to sign the direct access consent form.

Jenna Buttle, dental therapist

I don’t think the industry on the whole has benefited from the full potential of direct access.


What are your thoughts? Email [email protected].

The next Big Question is: Is the associate dentist model effective?

What do you think? Does the associate dentist model have more benefits or drawbacks? How does it compare to other dental practice models?

Let’s get a discussion going – email your thoughts to [email protected] to feature in our follow-up article in which we will share the views from across the profession.

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