After more than five years of sustained advocacy on the issue, the Australian Dental Industry Association (ADIA) is pleased that cuts are likely to the red tape associated with owning and operating Cone Beam Computed Tomography (CBCT) equipment in Western Australia.
CBCT digital imaging is changing the way dental practitioners view the oral and maxillofacial complex as well as teeth and the surrounding tissues. This leading-edge technology offers many benefits for patients; however, its use in WA is currently constrained as a result of outdated and unnecessarily restrictive licensing policy that means virtually no dentist in WA can use this technology.
“ADIA welcomes news that the Radiological Council of Western Australia looks set to remove the restrictions on CBCT ownership in that state,” ADIA CEO Troy Williams said.
The coming changes will allow dentists registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, who have successfully completed a recognised CBCT course, to be eligible for a licence to own and operate CBCT equipment. It is understood that the courses to be approved are offered by the School of Dentistry at the University of Queensland, the Adelaide Dental School within the University of Adelaide and one further course by a private provider.
“This outcome is entirely consistent with what ADIA has argued for over many years. It’s actually five years ago this month that ADIA met with the then Minister for Health to progress this reform and we’ve naturally discussed it in the past with the current Minister, Roger Cook,” Williams said.
The commitment of ADIA to securing reform in this area is highlighted by its work with the Senate Community Affairs References Committee that’s currently conducting an inquiry reviewing availability and accessibility of diagnostic imaging equipment around Australia.
“In the west, current regulations state that to own and operate CBCT equipment, a dentist must have registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency in the specialty of dento-maxillofacial radiology. Almost none of Western Australia’s 1,780 or so dentists satisfy this requirement,” Williams told the Senate Committee in hearings held last week.
Although each state and territory takes a different regulatory approach to owning CBCT equipment, it can be sensibly argued that in terms of outcomes, there is broad alignment across all states and territories—with the exception of WA.
“ADIA couldn’t be more pleased that Western Australia’s regulatory framework looks set to move closer to that which exists around the rest of the country,” Williams said.