Following on from Health Workforce Australia’s recommendations and pressure from the Ministerial Council, the Dental Board of Australia (DBA) has proposed to remove the supervision requirement for allied dental personnel (namely dental hygienists, oral health therapists and dental therapists – ADPs).
While some groups are happy with this recommendation, the ADA is not, saying in its latest newsletters that “This is an arbitrary lowering of the bar for people receiving dental care without addressing the real problem – the lack of adequate funding for public dental services.”
In the newsletter, the ADA says that scope of practice (SoP) is the delineating factor between individual health professionals. It identifies the education and training and subsequent competencies required for registration and, by default, identifies the tasks and procedures that those professionals can perform as part of their particular practice.
The DBA is currently reviewing the SoP Registration Standard (the Standard) that all registered dental practitioners must abide by under the National Law. The current Standard was developed as part of the introduction of the national registration scheme. It sought to accommodate the range of conditions that existed under previous state and territory regulatory authorities. It was developed in concert with the community and the dental profession with protection of the public as its foundation.
The Association has said to its members that ADPs are trained with a very limited skill set to work under the supervision of a dentist, and “Their training is in no way comparable to that of dentists.”