01 Jul 2020
The Dental Board of Australia’s (the Board) revised scope of practice standard and guidelines are both in effect from today.
The revised Scope of practice registration standard no longer includes the regulatory requirement for a structured professional relationship between a dentist and other members of the dental team. If an employer wishes to have a formal arrangement, that is a workplace matter between the two parties.
Under the revised standard, dental practitioners across all divisions of dentistry are responsible for the decisions, treatment and advice they provide and must only perform dental treatment:
Board Chair, Dr Murray Thomas, said the revised standard continues the Board’s incremental approach to transitioning the dental profession away from prescriptive requirements for scope.
‘The standard enables all dental practitioners to exercise their full scope of practice, so individuals are responsible for the decisions, treatment and advice they provide, hence the reference to a dentist as an “independent practitioner” has also been removed as the standard applies to all dental practitioners.’
Dr Thomas said the revised standard and guidelines, together with the Code of conduct, are part of the Board’s broad regulatory framework.
‘These documents don’t refer to specific clinical areas of practice as they apply to all dental practitioners across a range of clinical settings to meet the needs of patients.
‘Even though the requirement for a structured professional relationship has been removed, practitioners still need to refer a patient when the care is outside the practitioner’s scope of practice.
‘So, it’s important that dental practitioners are aware and respectful of the education and training done by each of the dental divisions. This will help to maintain strong professional relationships with other practitioners and divisions so they can work together as a cohesive dental team.’
A know your scope hub launched by the Board in May has information and resources to support dental practitioners’ understanding of their obligations under the revised standard, including:
Dr Thomas said practitioners are responsible for knowing their own individual scope of practice.
‘While there are some competencies that might be shared across the divisions, other competencies can only be achieved through an approved program of study, making them specific to a division of registration.
‘Continuing professional development (CPD) can help to broaden a practitioner’s knowledge, expertise and competence within the division they are registered but it is not enough to move to another division of registration. That would require completing a Board-approved program of study to achieve a new qualification to qualify for registration under another division.
‘Practitioners can use the reflective practice tool when planning their CPD as it will help them to reflect on their individual scope of practice and identify areas where they might broaden their scope within the division of their registration,’ Dr Thomas said.
Resources found on the hub were developed with input from practitioners and professional associations. Dental practitioners are encouraged to use them and should also read the revised Guidelines for scope of practice which includes a definition of dentistry.