June 2013

Dental Board of Australia Newsletter

Issue 4, June 2013


Welcome to the Dental Board of Australia’s June 2013 newsletter

Important date! Continuing professional development cycle ends 30 June 2013.

The Dental Board again reminds dental practitioners that the first three-year continuing professional development (CPD) cycle ends on 30 June 2013.

At the end of the cycle you must have completed 60 hours of CPD activities, as required by the Board’s Continuing professional development registration standard. This is available under the Registration standards tab on the Board’s website. For other important information on CPD, see the guidelines and fact sheet under the Policies, codes and guidelines tab.

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What’s new from the Board?

Review of accreditation functions

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law) requires National Boards to review the arrangements for the exercise of the accreditation functions no later than 30 June 2013. These arrangements have been in place since before the National Law took effect, when the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council appointed the Australian Dental Council (ADC) as the accreditation authority for dental practitioners under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) from 1 July 2010. This appointment was for three years.

The Dental Board released a public consultation paper on the review of accreditation arrangements for dental practitioners on 30 October 2012. The Board has considered the feedback received, and members of the Board’s Accreditation Review Committee have met with representatives from the ADC to discuss aspects of the review.

In the weeks ahead, we will finalise our decision about how accreditation functions will be undertaken on behalf of the Board. We will keep stakeholders informed.

Inaugural national dental conference held in May 2013

The Dental Board held its first national conference in May 2013.

The conference was held over three days and for the first time members of the state and territory committees of the Dental Board had the opportunity to meet in one place, together with representatives from the Dental Council of New South Wales and senior staff from the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the NSW Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA). The HPCA is the administrative body that supports NSW’s 14 health professional councils to perform their regulatory and legislative functions under the National Scheme, while registration is handled by AHPRA.

The conference was very successful and provided participants with an opportunity to:

  • reflect on the specific issues for the dental profession in the National Scheme
  • share their experiences and views about future issues
  • gather insights into the needs and opportunities for building strong working relationships between the Board, its committees, the NSW bodies and AHPRA
  • consider data about the experience of dentistry in the National Scheme, along with the NSW experience, and
  • participate in workshops on a range of issues including registration standards, notifications processes and Board policy issues.

New members of state and territory committees of the National Board

The Dental Board called for nominations and expressions of interest to fill vacancies in its state and territory committees. Applications were due in early March 2013 and an advisory panel was established to review applications and make selection recommendations to the Board. Applicants were advised of the outcome in late May.

Advertising taskforce

The Dental Board and AHPRA have established a taskforce to oversee the current activity on dental advertising which is not compliant with the requirements of the National Law and the Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services.

This review, together with the proposed changes to the advertising guidelines (from the public consultation ended 30 May 2013), will underpin the Board’s future approach to managing advertising issues associated with dental practitioners.

The proposed changes to the advertising guidelines are that they:

  • provide increased clarity for regulated practitioners – a change from guidance to advice 
  • set out the requirements of section 133 of the National Law 
  • include an authority statement and a link to Part 8 of the National Law, which outlines possible action taken for failure to comply, and
  • clarify that the revised guidelines are not intended to explain to practitioners how to advertise.

The National Boards will consider the feedback to the public consultation on the advertising guidelines and release a final version in the upcoming months.

The Board reminds dental practitioners that:

  • you are responsible for the content of all advertising material associated with the provision of your goods/services, regardless of the type of media used to advertise, and
  • you should ensure that advertising is compliant with the requirements of the National Law and the current Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services (available under Policies, codes and guidelines on the Board’s website).

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Snapshot of the profession

At the end of March 2013 there were 19,769 registered dental practitioners throughout Australia. This is an increase of 10 practitioners since the last update was released in December 2012. The number of registered dental practitioners by state and territory, and by registration type and division is illustrated in the tables below.

Dental practitioners: State and territory by registration type

State General General and Specialist Limited
Non-practising Specialist Total  % By State 
Postgraduate training or supervised practice Public interest Teaching or research    

ACT 314 40 6 360  1.83% 

NSW 5,493 455 87 1 8 101 8 6,153  30.93% 

NT 131 7 1 1 140  0.69% 

QLD 3,452 301 34 16 44 1 3,848  19.46% 

SA 1,461 136 31 12 14 3 1,657  8.43% 

TAS 303 22 2 4 331  1.71% 

VIC 3,930 373 116 6 100 8 4,533  22.82% 

WA 2,060 151 30 1 57 2 2,301  11.75% 

Not Stated 350 36 5 52 3 446  2.39% 

Total 17,494 1,521 305 1 43 379 26 19,769   

Dental practitioners: Registration numbers by division by state/territory

Division ACT NSW NT QLD SA TAS VIC WA No PPP Grand Total
Dental Hygienist 42 365 8 126 234 17 178 285 12 1,267
Dental Hygienist and Dental Prosthetist 1 1 2
Dental Hygienist and Dental Prosthetist and Dental Therapist 1 1 2
Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist 10 60 7 169 67 1 135 51 1 501
Dental Hygienist and Dentist 1 1
Dental Prosthetist 14 416 5 224 53 50 335 88 4 1,189
Dental Therapist 16 236 18 209 97 52 173 333 1 1,135
Dental Therapist and Dentist 1 1
Dentist 270 4,885 98 2,840 1,120 206 3,622 1,551 298 14,890
Oral Health Therapist 9 207 5 291 91 5 162 10 1 781
Grand Total 362 6,172 141 3,860 1,662 331 4,606 2,318 317 19,769

These detailed statistics can be found on the Statistics page of the Board’s website.

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What documents is the Board developing?

Review of registration standards, codes and guidelines.

The Dental Board continues to review the registration standards, codes and guidelines that were developed before the National Scheme began. A very important part of this process is consultation.

The Board undertakes two phases of consultation.

  • During preliminary consultations the Board releases the paper to key stakeholders, which allows it to ‘road test’ the feasibility of proposed changes as well as consider feedback that may be incorporated for the following phase. 
  • Public consultations are widely communicated in the Board’s communiqués and website, and are open to everyone.

A number of standards, codes and guidelines are currently being reviewed.

Common registration standards, codes and guidelines

Together with the other National Boards, the Dental Board has been consulting with its stakeholders about the following six registration standards, codes and guidelines:

  • Guidelines for advertising (common to all National Boards) 
  • Guidelines for mandatory notifications (common to all National Boards) 
  • draft Social media policy (common to all National Boards)
  • Code of conduct (shared by 11 of the 14 National Boards, with some profession-specific modifications for some Boards) 
  • English language skills registration standard, and
  • Criminal history registration standard.

Dental Board-specific registration standards and guidelines

The Board is also reviewing the following Board-specific registration standards (approved in 2010):

  • Continuing professional development registration standard 
  • Professional indemnity insurance registration standard 
  • Recency of practice registration standard 
  • Endorsement for conscious sedation registration standard, and 
  • Specialist registration standard.

Preliminary consultation about these five standards will be underway shortly, with public consultation occurring later in the year. The Board has involved its expert reference groups (Therapeutics and Specialist) in the initial drafting of the endorsement for conscious sedation and specialist standards.

The Board is also consulting about:

  • Scope of practice registration standard, and 
  • new Scope of practice guideline.

The period for public consultation about these two scope of practice documents ran from 8 May 2013 to 19 June 2013. The Board is now analysing the feedback it received.

The Board has set up a Scope of Practice Registration Standard Review Committee to assist in developing and consulting about these important documents.

Provide your feedback to these reviews

Please check the Dental Board’s website for details of consultations and consultation material: see Current consultations.

The Board values your views and invites you to provide your feedback to these consultations.

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Accountability and transparency: panel and tribunal hearing decisions published

AHPRA and the National Boards’ commitment to transparency and accountability continues, with an expansion of the information published about legal issues and hearing decisions. AHPRA has published a table of panel hearing decisions dating back to July 2010. Summaries have been provided where there is educational and clinical value. Practitioners’ names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law.

Some summaries of tribunal decisions are also provided, to help share information and guide practitioners.

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Community Reference Group for the National Scheme

A Community Reference Group has been appointed by AHPRA and the National Boards. This group has been designed to advise AHPRA and National Boards on ways in which community understanding and involvement in our work can be strengthened. This might include:

  • strategies for promoting greater community response to consultations 
  • ways in which the national registers of practitioners can be more accessible and better understood, and 
  • strategies to build greater community understanding of how practitioner regulation works.

AHPRA and the National Boards will work with the Community Reference Group to agree on a set of priorities. This will build on the feedback received at the recent community forums held across Australia in partnership with the Consumers Health Forum of Australia (CHF). The forums provided an opportunity for AHPRA and members of national and state boards to meet members of the public to explain how health practitioner regulation works and what it offers the community, and to get feedback on issues of concern.

The Community Reference Group will complement the role of community members of the National Boards. The group consists of members from the community who are not health practitioners or current/past members of a National Board or committee in the National Scheme. For further details, visit the News page on AHPRA’s website.

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Searchable programs of study database now online – an Australian first

A comprehensive, easily searchable national database of approved programs of study is now accessible through the AHPRA website.

For the first time, potential students, practitioners, the public and education providers can conduct an easy online search to identify approved programs of study. This allows potential students to check courses to ensure that they will lead to registration with one of the National Boards.

Detailed information about individual programs of study, such as course length, approval dates and any conditions, is published in one place. It also means that education providers can check, in real time, any changes or updates to the approved programs of study that they are required to report on for student registration.

The online service provides a single point of entry to important information that was previously scattered between states and territories. It is possible through the National Scheme because education programs for all professions are accredited nationally and AHPRA is able to gather national data about accredited courses.

Dental courses among the programs listed

The searchable database replaces previously published static lists for each profession and makes it easier and quicker to find important information about approved programs of study for the following professions: chiropractic, dental, medical, nursing and midwifery, optometry, osteopathy, pharmacy, physiotherapy and podiatry.

The searchable list includes inactive programs of study. These are typically programs that are no longer approved by a National Board but which still entitle graduates to apply for registration for a period of five years from the date the course was no longer approved.

Access the database on the Approved programs of study page.

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Registration – renew online, renew on time

Registration renewal for dental practitioners is due by 30 November 2013. We want to give you plenty of advance notice.

Most health practitioners across the National Scheme now renew online, which is convenient and saves time. Renewing online also has benefits for the National Board – it reduces the reliance on hardcopy letters and forms, saving on production, printing and postage costs.

Email reminders to renew will be sent by AHPRA later in the year, when online renewal is open. Letters will be sent to practitioners without email.

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Update your contact details

Please check your contact details and update them if necessary in order to receive regular reminders from the Board and AHPRA. Email accounts should be set to receive communications from AHPRA and the Board to avoid misdirection to a ‘junk email’ or ‘spam’ box or account.

If you have not yet provided your email address to AHPRA or the Board, please do so as a matter of urgency.

To update your contact details, go to the AHPRA website, click ‘online services’, use your unique contact number (User ID) and follow the prompts. Your User ID is not your registration number. If you do not have a User ID complete an online enquiry form, selecting ‘User ID’ as the category of enquiry, or call 1300 419 495.

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Keep in touch with the Board

  • Visit our website for information on the National Scheme and for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines, policies and fact sheets. Board communiqués and consultation papers are published on the site under the News tab. 
  • Lodge an online enquiry form
  • For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 8708 9001 (for overseas callers). 
  • Address mail correspondence to: Executive Officer, Dental Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

Locations of AHPRA state and territory offices are listed on the AHPRA website on the Contact us page.

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Page reviewed 12/05/2016