This year the Dental Board of Australia improved
collaboration and coordination with our stakeholders
and partners to build better understanding of regulation
and our role in protecting the public. A focus has been
on working together to support professional practice.
The Board reviewed several standards and guidelines,
released guidance and information, and launched
a national health and wellbeing support service for
dental practitioners. A review of the Board’s decisionmaking
committees resulted in a new national structure,
contributing to greater regulatory effectiveness.
The Board focused on improving how guidance is
presented, with a plain English review of its fact sheets.
Updated versions will
be released in 2021/22,
starting with a fact sheet
on teeth whitening.
Our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and support
for practitioners to comply with their regulatory
obligations in a rapidly changing environment continued
this year. The Board contacted practitioners directly to
explain the evolving advice about state and territory
governments’ public health orders and our response to
COVID-19 and the challenges it continues to present.
Dental Practitioner Support, launched on 6 July, is the
first 24/7, free, confidential, nationwide telephone and
online service for all dental practitioners and students.
The Dental Stakeholder Liaison Group was established
due to COVID-19 and the extraordinary challenges it
posed. These challenges continued into 2020/21. The
group stayed active, meeting under a broader scope
to include topics beyond COVID-19 and of interest and
relevance to the group.
The past year also saw the first in a series of planned
roundtables, held on 21 March, to discuss how we could
collectively clarify for practitioners our roles and the
role of practitioner regulation.
In 2020, the Australian Dental Council (ADC) reviewed
the accreditation standards. The Board approved
the standards with effect from 1 January. Any dental
practitioner program submitted for accreditation after
this date will be assessed using the revised standards.
An ADC review of the competencies for newly qualified
dental practitioners is due to be finalised in 2021/22.
The revised Scope of practice registration standard
came into effect on 1 July, following approval by
Ministerial Council. A ‘Know your scope’ online hub was
launched to hold information and resources to support
dental practitioners’ understanding of their obligations
under the revised standard.
Following a review, the
Guidelines for dental records
were retired, as the Code of
conduct contains adequate
guidance about health record management. A fact
sheet and self-reflective tool were published to support
practitioners practising safely.
New Guidelines for blood-borne viruses for registered
health practitioners and students came into effect on
6 July. The Board’s guidelines (for practitioners and
students who perform exposure-prone procedures)
apply to health practitioners who treat registered health
practitioners or students living with a blood-borne virus.
The review of the Guidelines on infection control was
begun, with a public consultation scheduled for late
Dr Murray Thomas