The Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) has met with the Minister for Health in Western Australia, the Honourable Kim Hames MLA, and asked that the current restrictive licensing arrangements associated with the use of Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) and Cone Beam Volumetric Tomography (CBVT) be revised.
The Minister has tacitly accepted ADIA’s advice that the current arrangements are too restrictive. The Radiological Council of Western Australia (RCWA) currently requires that dental CBCT / CBVT equipment can only be only be operated by radiographers and dentists who hold a licence for this purpose. To be eligible for a license, dentists must have a Masters Degree in Oral and / or Maxillofacial Radiology currently offered by the University of Queensland and University of Adelaide, or an equivalent qualification recognised by the RCWA.
ADIA has recommended that the requirements be more consistent with other states and territories. The preferred option is that a dentist registered with the Dental Board of Australia who has completed a RCWA approved short course be permitted to own and operate the CBCT / CBVT digital imaging equipment.
The Minister also accepted ADIA’s advice that current arrangements do not support the Western Australian Government’s strong commitment to telemedicine. With respect to the use of CBCT / CBVT digital imaging equipment, telemedicine allows an image to be taken by an appropriately trained operator in regional and remote Western Australia, with the subsequent images sent electronically to an appropriately qualified professional for interpretation and diagnosis.
ADIA’s view is that the act of taking the image is separate from interpretation and diagnosis. There remains debate about who is appropriately qualified to interpret the image, an issue of healthcare practitioner competency thus outside of ADIA’s remit and within the purview of the DBA and the Medical Radiation Practice Board of Australia (MRPBA).
The next step is for the RCWA, at the Minister’s request, to undertake a review of current licensing arrangements. Given the need for appropriate consultation with all stakeholders, any change is likely to be twelve to eighteen months away.
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