The next stage in exemptions

The inability to provide prescription-only medicines necessary for effective patient treatment has long held our profession back. The British Society of Dental Hygiene and Therapy (BSDHT) have teamed up with the British Association of Dental Therapists (BADT) to do something about it. 

With one united voice, our two organisations are working together to pursue Exemptions to the Medicines Act. This would mean that a list of prescription-only-medicines would be specified in legislation for dental hygienists and dental therapists to administer or supply, such as local anaesthetic, topical anaesthetic and fluoride varnishes.

After undertaking a scoping process with NHS England which assessed the need for use of further mechanisms to administer or supply POMs for our profession we were finally given the green light by NHS England Chief Professionals Office, to pursue our long-held quest .

This is fantastic news for our profession, however it is the beginning of a long road that we need to follow and we would like your help.

Firstly, In order for us to prove our case, we are going to have to put forward a case of need. For this we need details of actual clinical situations where there has been an inappropriate prescription to carry out treatment, how this situation was dealt with and how it affected the treatment and our patients. This is the important part- we need to show the impact this has on patients, not just on our profession.   See below an example of how it needs to be filled in to help.

We want to hear from members, non-members and dentists alike, as this is in our entire professional and our patient’s interests.

Secondly, this process will take time and it will take resources to enable a project lead be employed in order to drive it forwards, as it is anticipated that this will have a life-span of at least 2 years.

We have had amazing support so far but we would like you to help support the following ways to add to this fundraising. (details to follow)

We thank you for your time and support as this will help not just us, to do our job, but it will benefit all dental hygienists and dental therapists for generations to come and the dentists that we work with, but ultimately, and most importantly it will benefit our patients by being able to treat them in the best possible way within our scope of practice.

A sample form is detailed below.

Please give a detailed account of where one of your patients has been affected due to the lack of an appropriate prescription.


Working as a hygienist at a dental practice 

Medicine/Group of medicines:


Local anaesthetic

Description of case:

A patient came in for their regular maintenance hygiene appointment. She advised me that she had to be anaesthetised for this treatment. This was her first appointment with me and she presented with localised areas of aggressive periodontitis with pockets of 6 mm which would require LA.

Current practice & drawbacks associated with working under prescription and/or a PGD:                                                                                                                

There was no LA prescription and her dentist was not there to prescribe one. I asked another dentist to assess the patient for this but they refused as the patient was not one they had seen them before and were therefore unfamiliar with them.
What was the patients’ experience?

The patient got very upset. She could not understand why the last time she had this treatment carried out it was with LA that I could now not provide. (on further investigation I found out that the previous treatment had been undertaken by a dentist. Thus no LA prescription required. ) The whole situation was very upsetting for the patient as she was very nervous and anxious about this treatment. As a compromise I removed supragingival calculus (free of charge to the patient but at a cost to the practice) and rescheduled another appointment for the treatment required with a prescription for LA use. I found this wasted time for all involved, cost the practice money and most importantly further annoyed an already nervous patient to the extent that I am not sure she will return.


You can download a copy of the template here.  Complete it and return to