17 Oct 2019
Keeping patients safe from infection is everyone’s responsibility.
Every October, International Infection Prevention Week aims to spread best practice amongst professionals in healthcare and educate the public on the importance of good hygiene and infection prevention.
The Dental Board of Australia (the Board) is helping to support this year’s awareness of the importance of preventing and controlling healthcare-associated infections. The Board is reminding consumers to be aware of what they should expect when visiting their dental practitioner.
Board Chair Dr Murray Thomas is encouraging consumers to ask their dental practitioner any questions they may have about prevention of infection.
‘It is important to break the spread of infections. Everyone plays a role in controlling and preventing infection – both patients and practitioners. For those at greater risk, such as the elderly or people with an underlying medical condition, good infection control and prevention can make a difference. It can stop them being in a situation where they need avoidable medical treatment,’ he said.
‘Consumers can use the Board’s resources to make sure they are getting safe care from their dental practitioner. Patients can use the resources to ask their treating dental practitioner questions about infection prevention. If they have a concern about their dental practitioner’s infection control practices, the resources also show how and what they should do about it,’ added Dr Thomas.
The Board has produced resources for dental patients, including a video. The video has seven easy to remember tips to help consumers know if their dental practitioner is following the correct infection control protocols.
This year’s theme for Infection Prevention Week also celebrates the role of vaccines in protecting public health. The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and the National Boards, all 16 regulated professions, including dental, issued a public statement in support of immunization earlier this year. The statement is clear that registered health practitioners have a responsibility to support public health programs, including vaccination.
The Board expects all dental practitioners to practise in a way that maintains and enhances public health and safety by ensuring that the risk of the spread of infection is prevented or minimised.
Dental practitioners are reminded to practise in accordance with the Board’s Guidelines on infection control and to refer to resources developed by the Board to ensure that they meet the infection control obligations.