Phasing out the approval of Programs to extend scope

Before the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme), dental hygienists, dental therapists and dental prosthetists could extend their scope of practice in some jurisdictions by completing an ‘add-on’ program.

The add-on programs, now known as Programs to extend scope, transitioned to the National Scheme as programs are reviewed and approved by the Dental Board of Australia (the Board).

The Board has agreed to phase out approval of Programs to extend scope – this means these programs will no longer be accredited by the Australian Dental Council (ADC) or approved by the Board.

The approval of the current programs will expire on 31 December 2018 and the list will be removed from the Board’s website.

In 2016, the ADC reviewed the list of Programs to extend scope on behalf of the Board.

As an outcome of this review process, the Board re-approved seven Programs to extend scope until 31 December 2018. The list of approved programs was published on the Accreditation section of the Board’s website.

The Board also reviewed its role in approving these programs and decided to phase out the approval process, with a transition period from 1 January 2017 until 31 December 2018. During and after this transition period, the Board will no longer approve Programs to extend scope, and consequently the ADC will no longer accredit these programs.

The Board made this decision considering a number of factors, including:

  • The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law)1 only provides a statutory framework to regulate programs of study that lead to registration or endorsement. Programs to extend scope do not lead to registration or endorsement and are offered to dental practitioners already registered, with general or limited registration.
  • The demand for these programs has decreased over time, with the content of these programs largely incorporated in the approved programs of study leading to registration.
  • The Regulatory principles for the National Scheme.

1 Part 6 of the National Law.

Over the past year the Board has carried out a review of the current Scope of practice registration standard and associated regulatory documents. This review is completed and the Board has submitted a proposed revised registration standard (consistent with the consultation draft) to COAG Health Council for approval.

As part of the changes, the Board proposes to remove reference to Programs to extend scope from the registration standard and guidelines giving effect to the Board’s decision to phase out the approval process of these programs, and for these programs to be continued to be delivered as continuing professional development (CPD).

The Board will inform registered dental practitioners and stakeholders of the outcome once a decision has been made by ministers.

You must only perform those dental treatments for which you are educated and trained and in which you are competent, as per the Scope of practice registration standard and guideline.

If you are not educated and trained to perform a certain treatment, you cannot carry out that treatment.

However, if you wish to broaden your knowledge, expertise and competence, you may do so by completing continuing professional development (CPD).

You are required to do CPD activities and/or attend CPD courses that

You are expected to self-assess whether your selected CPD activities/courses provide you with the sufficient clinical experience to incorporate a new procedure/technique/treatment into your clinical practice.

As a dental practitioner, you are expected to select your CPD programs in line with the ADC’s Professional competencies, which describe the level of competency expected of graduates from the accredited and approved programs of study, leading to registration in the relevant division of registration.

Further information on the CPD requirements and how to choose a CPD activity is available on the Board's website.

For example

Dental therapists and oral health therapists who are currently not educated and trained to provide dental therapy treatment to adult patients cannot carry out this type of treatment. However, they can get the skills and knowledge they need through CPD programs, by building upon their core knowledge and the skills they have developed through their initial qualification(s) leading to registration.

Yes. CPD is how all dental practitioners continue to learn and develop their professional practice.

CPD programs maintain, improve and broaden knowledge expertise and confidence.

The CPD relied upon to improve and broaden knowledge, expertise and competence should provide experience in the technique or procedure. This can be in a simulated environment.

If you decide to complete CPD that broadens your knowledge, expertise and competence (e.g. a CPD course to learn a new technique), you need to:

  • self-assess whether you have been provided with sufficient clinical experience
  • assess the quality of training to incorporate this new technique into your clinical practice, and
  • make sure you are practising within your division of registration and definition of dentistry.

Your individual scope of practice can evolve from the time you obtained your qualification leading to registration and can vary from another dental practitioner registered in the same division.

As a reference point, you can refer to:

If you decide to complete CPD that broadens your knowledge, expertise and competence (e.g. a CPD course to learn a new technique), you need to:

  • self-assess whether you have been provided with sufficient clinical experience
  • assess the quality of training to incorporate this new technique into your clinical practice
  • make sure you are practising within your division of registration and definition of dentistry.

Also, if you decide to expand your individual scope, you need to be mindful of:

  • other regulatory requirements including drugs and poisons legislation and radiation authority
  • whether your professional indemnity insurance covers any additional procedures or techniques, and
  • always practising in accordance with the Board’s Code of Conduct.

You be aware of their scope of practice obligations as described in the Board’s Scope of practice registration standard and Guidelines for scope of practice.

At registration or renewal you make a declaration to comply with all relevant legislation, Board registration standards, codes and guidelines.

Notification management processes allow the Board to investigate your practise of a practitioner when a peer or member of the public makes a complaint, and this can include practising outside your scope.

It is important that you keep a clear record of any Program to extend scope or any CPD activity and/or course that you complete.

The Board may ask you to provide this evidence as part of an audit of CPD or if you are the subject of a notification about your conduct or performance.

Yes. Education providers wishing to deliver these types of programs may consider delivering these courses as CPD.

The Board strongly encourages education providers to develop and deliver CPD programs in line with the Board’s registration standard and guidelines on CPD, the Board’s Scope of practice registration standard and guidelines, and the Code of conduct.

 

Documents

Document name PDF Accessible format Document date
Approved programs to extend scope of practice PDF (29.8KB) Excel version 
(59.3 KB,XLSX)
24 February 2017
Historical programs to extend scope of practice PDF (83.9 KB) Excel version 
(59.1 KB,XLSX)
24 February 2017
 
 
 
Page reviewed 1/10/2018