Memorandum by the Clinical Dental Technicians
This submission represents the views of the
Clinical Dental Technicians Association regarding the Governments
strategy Modernising NHS Dentistry.
The Association would also wish to participate
in giving oral evidence, to the Health Committee, at the appropriate
Clinical Dental Technicians (CDT's) are qualified
dental technicians who undertake further training in the clinical
procedures required to provide removable dental appliances directly
to members of the public. At present CDT's are legislated for
in some EU countries, USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
The legislation in many of these countries requires CDT's to be
members of the dental team but allows them to work independently
Dentistry is regulated by the General Dental
Council (GDC), in partnership with, Government. The previous Conservative
Administration has accepted that CDT's would provide an enhanced
service to patients in providing removable appliances within the
framework of the NHS.
The present Government and GDC have also accepted
the need for CDT's to be statutorily registered and is in the
process of introducing this profession.
Whilst we applaud the Government's initiative
on modernising the delivery of dental care to patients we are
not convinced that dentists will be able or willing to deliver
the full range of NHS dentistry. It is a fact that patients are
finding it extremely difficult to find a dentist who is willing
to provide treatment under the NHS. Many patients are either forced
to accept private treatment (often at very high cost or by purchasing
private dental cover) or travel considerable distances to gain
access to a limited number of available NHS dental treatments.
We further feel that the GDC, and to a certain
extent Government, has missed a golden opportunity to facilitate
patient access for patients receiving dental appliances through
Current proposals, from the GDC, will allow
CDT's to work remotely from dentists. The proposals also accept
overseas qualifications for CDT's. At present there are a number
of CDT's in the UK who have undergone a comprehensive and internationally
recognised training programme delivered by George Brown City College,
Toronto, Canada. However, the GDC has agreed to limit CDT's in
a restrictive manner. These restrictions are;
1. CDT's will not be able to charge patients
for the work they undertake. A patient will be required to pay
the dentist for any work undertaken and the dentist will then
pass on, to the CDT, any fee deemed appropriate. This system is
open to obvious abuse where a dentist may well charge a patient
a high fee and only pass on a small fraction of this to the CDT.
We have evidence to support this claim, which is already being
abused even before regulations exist.
2. Patients will be required to attend dentists
for a prescription before having access to a CDT. We believe this
will inconvenience patients and is yet another barrier in a patients
right to choose where they obtain treatment from an appropriately
qualified professional. We are currently seeking Queens Counsel
Opinion on this restriction under current Human Rights Legislation.
We are aware that CDT's would be able to provide
a comprehensive range of NHS dental appliances more cost effectively
and of higher quality than the present system allows. Indeed,
where CDT's are established in other countries they are known
to provide appliances at up to 30 per cent less than provided
We welcome the inquiry by the Health Select
Committee, which may lead to large numbers of dental patients
once again having access to a comprehensive range of dental treatments.