09 Mar 2022
The Dental Board of Australia (the Board) is shifting from formal Guidelines on infection control (the guidelines) to supporting practitioners with resources and tools to help them continue practicing safely, coming into effect on 1 July 2022.
Following a public consultation, the Board decided new resources, including a fact sheet and self-reflective tool, will enable practitioners to continue safe practice without the need for regulatory guidelines and allow for timely updates to the information given.
Dr Murray Thomas, Board Chair, is confident in the competence and skill showed by dental practitioners: ‘We know that dental practitioners practise safely and that they understand the principles and application of infection prevention and control.
‘With a wide range of resources available to support practitioners, removing the restrictive requirements of the guidelines allows practitioners to stay up-to-date with contemporary practices and new information. It also provides greater flexibility to adapt to changing circumstances, like pandemics, using a risk-based approach’ said Dr Thomas.
Dr Thomas assured practitioners that the Board’s new approach will not require any changes to practice: ’If you are practicing safely and if current systems and procedures are working, keep doing what you’re doing’ he said.
Replacing the guidelines with supporting resources is another policy initiative of the Board to promote practitioner self-reflection and ongoing professionalism. This is similar to its approach to supporting practitioners to maintain health records.
Practitioners are still expected to practise safely and comply with the Board’s standards, codes and guidelines. These include the Code of conduct and Guidelines - Registered health practitioners and students in relation to blood-borne viruses.
The new resources will be launched on 1 July 2022 and available on the Board’s website.
The fact sheet has been designed to help practitioners understand their obligations and know where to find more information. It includes links to:
The self-reflective tool prompts practitioners to think about their practice and identify areas that work well and areas for further improvement.
The resources have been consulted on and developed with input and user testing from dental practitioners.
You can read the consultation submissions and Patient and Consumer Health and Safety Impact Assessment on the Board’s past consultations webpage.