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News / September 7, 2009

Views sought on hygienists supplying medicines

by Guy Hiscott

Views are being sought on proposals to amend medicines legislation to enable dental hygienists and dental therapists in Northern Ireland to sell, supply and administer medicines under a patient group direction (PGD).

Following the consultation – which runs until 20 November 2009 – the Commission on Human Medicines will, in light of the responses received, make formal recommendations to ministers on the proposals.

If the Government gets the go-ahead, it will permit the supply of prescription-only medicines (POMs) to groups of patients, without individual prescriptions by dental hygienists and dental therapists.

The consultation abides by the seven consultation criteria set out in the government’s Code of Practice on Consultation.

The proposals, if agreed, will be achieved by amendments to the Prescription Only Medicines for (Human Use) Order 1997, (the POM Order), the Medicine (Pharmacy and General Sale – Exemption) Order 1980 and the Medicines (Sale and Supply) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 1980.

This consultation has been produced with the Department of Health and is being made available in  Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland.

Medicines regulation is not an excepted or reserved matter as far as Northern Ireland is concerned and Northern Ireland’s health minister will be a co-signatory to any legislative amendments.

The opportunity is also being taken, within this consultation, to seek views on any amendments that will be required to NHS regulations to enable the supply of medicines by dental hygienists and dental therapists, under a PGD at public expense.

Changes may be required to relevant NHS regulations in Northern Ireland, together with any associated aspects of the relevant drug tariffs.

The consultation is open for 12 weeks. Responses should arrive no later than 20 November 2009.
For more information, visit