04 Aug 2020
Efforts to contain COVID-19 in Victoria have escalated and the Dental Board of Australia (the Board) understands the increased stress dental practitioners are under.
Dental care is an essential service continuing to operate in Victoria. However, dental practitioners must decide how best to keep their patients, staff, themselves and their family and friends safe while providing care to patients.
The Victorian Government has declared a State of Disaster and is exercising its powers under state legislation in increased efforts to contain and slow the spread of COVID-19 in the community.
Further information on the stage 4 COVID-19 restrictions can be found on the Victorian State Government Health and Human Services website.
The Board regulates the health, performance and conduct of individual dental practitioners. We do not have the authority to set or impose public health directions. Nor do we have oversight of workplace policy or regulations.
All dental practitioners need to exercise their professional judgement as part of assessing and managing the risks posed in dental practice to practise safely, both in government and the private sectors.
Practitioners also need to understand, consider and balance the intersecting regulatory requirements, particularly of:
Dental practitioners must take a risk-based approach to their clinical practice and consider local conditions to determine how to practise safely in their environment. It is important to continue maintaining high levels of professionalism and adhere to the Board’s Code of conduct.
Dental practitioners may decide to use greater risk control measures in their practice than is recommended to minimise the risk of transmission of infection. All dental practitioners should consider the current risk environment and public safety when making decisions about whether to defer non-urgent or elective dental services.
The Australian Dental Association Victorian Branch and other dental professional associations are providing regular updates to their members to help them carry out their own risk assessments relevant to their profession. COVID-19 information on their websites is often available to non-members and the public.
Resources to help you manage COVID-19 are included in the Board’s 9 July COVID-19 update. Additional information is also available on the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website.
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Thank you for your efforts to keep your staff and patients safe and well while providing healthcare during what is turning out to be an extraordinary year for all of us.
Dr Murray Thomas
Chair, Dental Board of Australia