The Dental Board of Australia has asked for more time to consider the impact of any changes to the scope of practice standard. In the communiqué from its July meeting (released this week), the Board said it “remains committed to delivering well informed advice to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council) on any proposed amendments to the Scope of practice registration standard to provide certainty to all divisions of dental practitioners on their scope of practice; and provide protection and certainty to the public in recognising the divisions of dental practitioners and their scope of practice.
“Due to the response to the public consultation, the National Board has advised the Ministerial Council that it would prefer more time to carefully consider the responses and any possible impact of the proposed standard to ensure that dental practitioners are able to continue to work safely and with certainty and within their scope of practice.
“The Scope of practice review committee, appointed by the National Board, will continue to provide advice to the National Board. The National Board will provide further updates after the submissions have been fully considered. The current Scope of practice registration standard remains in force.”
The ADA has previously made clear its opposition to any change in the scope of practice standard, saying “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.”
The organisation has also said to its members that allied dental personnel are trained with a very limited skill set to work under the supervision of a dentist, and that “their training is in no way comparable to that of dentists.”
The Dental Hygienists Association of Australia was contacted for comment, but did not return calls or emails by the time we went to press.