Dental Board of Australia - AHPRA annual report reveals how the Dental Board of Australia worked to protect the public in 2016/17
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AHPRA annual report reveals how the Dental Board of Australia worked to protect the public in 2016/17

15 Nov 2017

The dental health workforce grew by 3% over the past year, to 22,383 total registrants, according to data released today in the 2016/17 annual report published by AHPRA and the National Boards.

The annual report is a comprehensive record of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the National Scheme) for the 12 months to 30 June 2017.

Dental practitioners now constitute 3.3% of the 678,983 registrants currently in the National Scheme, despite the number of registered dental students decreasing marginally (by 1.5%) during the year, from 4,810 at 30 June 2016 to 4,736 at 30 June 2017.

The Dental Board of Australia took a proactive approach to raising awareness about the obligations of registered dental practitioners during the year, communicating with both the profession and the public on rights and responsibilities.

‘This year, we also took a new, multimedia approach to the way we communicate with both the profession and the public,’ said Dr John Lockwood AM, Chair of the Dental Board of Australia. ‘To ensure everyone knows what to expect from good dental care, we launched two awareness-raising videos – Tips for patients and Overview of your obligations as a registered dental practitioner.’

Targeted campaigns such as these have seen increased engagement for the Board. More information will be available in a Board-specific summary report is released in the coming weeks.

A snapshot of the profession

  • Easy to renew: This year saw the largest online registration renewal rate ever achieved across all 14 registered health professions. Over 98.5% of all registrants renewed online and on time, with 98% of dental practitioners renewing online).
  • Increased registration year on year: While dental practitioners made up just 3.3% of all health practitioners registered nationally, the total registrant base continues to gradually grow (to 22,383 individual registered dental practitioners in 2016/17; up from 5,167 in 2015/16).
  • Students on the register: As at 30 June 2017, there were 4,736 dental students, representing a decrease of 1.5% from 2015/16 (4,810 students).
  • Complaints received about dental practitioners: There were 526 notifications (complaints or concerns) lodged with AHPRA about dental practitioners in 2016/17, up from 497 made in the previous year.
  • Of 485 matters closed, in 2016/17: 14.6% resulted in the Board accepting an undertaking or conditions being imposed on the practitioners’ registration; 20% resulted in a caution or reprimand; less than 1% resulted in cancellation or suspension of registration; and 62.1% resulted in no further action being taken.
  • Statutory offences by dental practitioners: 239 new complaints were made this year relating to possible statutory offences by dental practitioners. The overwhelming majority (205) related to advertising breaches. AHPRA and the Board closed 295 statutory offence matters in 2016/17. 
  • Immediate action was taken nine times to restrict or suspend the registration of dental practitioners as an interim measure to protect the public while notifications were being investigated. 
  • Active monitoring cases as at 30 June 2017: 134 dental practitioners were monitored during the year. Thirty-five were monitored for suitability/eligibility for registration in the profession; five were prohibited practitioners/students (monitored to ensure they remained non-practising); 64 were monitored for performance; 14 on the grounds of conduct; and 16 for health reasons.

The 2016/17 annual report provides a nationwide snapshot of the work of AHPRA and the National Boards and highlights a multi-profession approach to risk-based regulation, with a clear focus on ensuring that the public are protected.

‘There are now almost 680,000 registered health practitioners across Australia,’ said AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher. ‘This Annual Report highlights our strong and shared commitment with the Board to ensure the public has access to a competent, qualified registered health workforce and to take decisive action when required to keep the community safe.’

To view the 2016/17 annual report, along with supplementary tables that segment data across categories such as registrations, notifications, statutory offences, tribunals and appeals, and monitoring and compliance, visit the Annual Report microsite.

In the coming weeks, AHPRA and the National Boards will also publish summaries of our work regulating health practitioners in each of the 14 registered health professions. Jurisdictional reports, which present data on registered health practitioners in each state and territory will be published in December.

For more information

Page reviewed 15/11/2017