Plans to free up appointments with new powers for dental and pharmacy staff

The government has announced plans to give new powers to pharmacy technicians, dental hygienists and dental therapists to supply and administer medicines in an attempt to give patients faster, simpler and fairer access to primary care.

The announcement follows faster, simpler and fairer access to primary care.

Dental hygienists and therapists will be able to give patients certain types of medicines, without sign off from a dentist. This includes pain relief and fluoride.

Meanwhile, pharmacy technicians will be able to administer and supply specified medicines to certain groups of patients, without those patients having to see a prescriber.

It is hoped that the changes will free up time for pharmacists and dentists and allow them to deliver more patient-facing clinical services and improve access to primary care services for patients.

There are currently over 25,500 pharmacy technicians working in pharmacies across England, Scotland and Wales. There are 9,733 dental hygienists and 6,198 dental therapists currently registered with the General Dental Council in the UK.

Primary care minister, Andrea Leadsom said: "We want to give patients faster, simpler and fairer access to the care they need, when they need it – and giving these powers to pharmacy technicians, dental therapists and hygienists will do just that.

"Today’s announcement shows we are continuing to deliver on our promises made to improve access to primary care for all, building on the government’s long term ambitions, including through the Dental Recovery Plan and the expansion of the Pharmacy First Scheme.

"We want to ensure our fantastic staff are recognised for the vital work that they do, working to their full scope of practice and delivering for everyone who walks through their doors."

Nicola Stockmann, president of the Association of Pharmacy Technicians UK, said: "APTUK welcome this update to legislation, recognising the value of the pharmacy technician profession. This is a landmark moment for the expansion of access for patients to pharmacy services in a pressured healthcare landscape without compromising patient care."