Memorandum by the British Association
of Dental Therapists (D32)
BADT represent Dental Therapists in the UK.
Dental Therapists work to the prescription of a registered Dentist,
to undertake certain aspects of oral care. These include simple
fillings in both permanent and deciduous teeth, extraction of
deciduous teeth using local infiltration analgesia, Scaling and
polishing, and preventative procedures such as application of
fissure sealants and topical fluorides. They also play an important
role in educating and advising patients. There is no restriction
on the age of the patient we treat.
1. BADT welcome the government's initiatives
to improve the access to NHS dentistry. However we are a work
force, which currently is being restricted from providing Oral
health care to all sectors of the public; Dentists Act 1984, Dental
Auxiliaries Regulations 1986 as amended.
2. Dental Therapists can offer a wide range
of skills, which would be suitable to provide oral health care
to all types of patients not those who are eligible to be seen
in the community dental services, where the majority of Dental
Therapists are employed; Dentists Act 1984, Dental Auxiliaries
Regulations 1986 as amended. These skills are currently being
extended under the order making power in section 60 of the Health
3. Dental Therapists are a dedicated work
force. Only 70 per cent enrolled on the GDC are working as Dental
Therapists: (The working practice and job satisfaction of Dental
Therapists, D E Gibbons et al BDJ VOL 189 No 8 28 October 2000),
this is a very small percentage of those who have qualified as
Dental Therapists. These qualified Dental Therapists possessing
these skills are being lost due to lack of employment opportunities.
4. The recently announced Dental Access Centres;
(Press Release by Lord Hunt dated 3.11.2000) will not address
the under utilisation of a Trained dental workforce (Dental Therapists)
in providing an obvious need. Therefore these skills are being
lost and would need commitment from the profession and the individual,
also funding to enable them to return to the workforce in the
future. Where is the sense in this when the need is now.
5. It was interesting to read that the Government
is going to "make the most of the talents of its entire workforce"
(Modernising NHS DentistryImplementing the NHS Plan, September
2000, 4.41) BADT have yet to see any evidence of this, despite
the recommendations made in the Nuffield report into the education
and training of Personnel Auxiliary to Dentistry, September 1993;
and the Dental Auxiliaries review Group report. General Dental
Council May 1998 5.6.
6. The General Dental Council (the Council)
in May 1999 agreed to seek approval for the removal of the restriction
in the Dentists Act and Dental Auxiliaries Regulations, which
prevent Dental Therapists from working in all sectors of dentistry.
This recommendation from the profession needs to be implemented
urgently to allow Dental Therapists to have comparability and
equal rights with the other members of the dental team.
7. BADT feel this is an exciting time for
Dentistry, as an association we have always strived to improve
quality and Dental Therapists are well known for their quality
of work. But we feel we are not fully included in these new developments.