In a bid to speed up care, dental hygienists and pharmacy technicians are set to be given more powers to supply medicines to patients, the government has confirmed.

It’s been said that the move would help cut bureaucracy and free up time for pharmacists and dentists, according to ministers.

The plans were announced by ministers last year and the government said it was pressing ahead with the move after two public consultations on the issue.

Primary care minister Dame 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.”

What will dental hygienists and pharmacy technicians be able to prescribe to patients?

The Department of Health and Social Care said that pharmacy technicians will “now be able to administer and supply specified medicines to certain groups of patients”.

This may include them giving vaccinations and providing emergency or usual contraception, though the powers given to pharmacy technicians could vary by region.

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said that giving greater powers to pharmacy technicians will “increase capacity for pharmacy teams and further support consistency of services being offered within pharmacy”.

Meanwhile, dental hygienists and therapists will be able to give patients certain types of medicines, including pain relief and fluoride, without sign-off from a dentist.

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However, leading dentists warned that there is “not an army of dental hygienists and therapists” waiting in the wings to help ease pressure on NHS dentists.

British Dental Association chairman Eddie Crouch said: “There’s no army of dental hygienists or therapists queuing up to work in a broken system this Government won’t fix.

“NHS dentistry needs real reform. Not yet another press release on the latest tiny tweak.”

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The Department of Health and Social Care said there are more than 25,500 pharmacy technicians working in pharmacies across England, Scotland and Wales, while there are 9,733 dental hygienists and 6,198 dental therapists registered with the General Dental Council in the UK.

It said that the new powers for dental assistants would be UK-wide while the new work for pharmacy technicians would only be in England, Wales and Scotland.