The Dental Board of Australia achieves its role of protecting the public by setting standards for entering and maintaining registration in the dental profession, and by supporting practitioners to practise professionally. We focused on achieving these goals by working collaboratively and consultatively with the profession, our stakeholders and the public.
The Board continued its focus on stakeholder engagement through regular meetings of the Dental Stakeholder Liaison Group and collaboration with its co-regulators, the Dental Council New South Wales and the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO). In November, the Board published its position statement on the Minamata Convention on Mercury, alerting practitioners to actions they can take to phase down the use of dental amalgam. In May, the Board travelled to Wellington to meet with New Zealand’s Dental Council and discuss matters of mutual interest.
The Board updated the list of approved qualifications from overseas jurisdictions for the first time since the National Scheme began. Practitioners with qualifications from New Zealand, Ireland and the United Kingdom will now have an easier process to demonstrate they are qualified for registration in Australia.
This was the third year of operation of the Dental Practitioner Support Service, the first 24/7, free, confidential, nationwide telephone and online service for all dental practitioners and students. Following a review of the service’s operation, the Board committed to funding this service into the future.
Revisions to the National Law acknowledge the National Scheme’s role in developing a culturally safe and respectful health workforce, one that is responsive to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and that contributes to the elimination of racism in the provision of health services. Members of the Board and its national committees completed cultural safety training and have reaffirmed their commitment to building a culturally safe workforce free of racism.
In November, the Board’s Chair and Executive Officer attended the first Indigenous Dental Association of Australia conference in Canberra. Board members also visited the Dalarinji Aboriginal Oral Health Clinic in Sydney to further their understanding of how to provide culturally safe oral healthcare. The Board’s May visit to New Zealand provided an opportunity to visit Takapūwāhia Marae and learn more about Ora Toa Health Services and Te Tiriti o Waitangi (the Treaty of Waitangi).
The Board continued to work closely with its accreditation authority, the Australian Dental Council, to oversee accredited programs of study that, when approved by the Board, lead to registration as a dental practitioner. The Board consulted on the current accreditation arrangements to inform its decisions on arrangements for the next period.
Following targeted consultations, the Board released a range of updated guidance for practitioners, including new resources regarding infection prevention and control following retirement of the Board’s guidelines, and updated fact sheets on teeth whitening and on obligations regarding use of title.
The Board’s review of its Specialist registration standard has progressed, and work is underway to review the Board’s registration standards for conscious sedation and general registration for overseas-qualified dental practitioners. The Board is also participating in the multiprofession review of its Continuing professional development standard, Recency of practice standard and its limited registration standards.
Dr Murray Thomas, Chair