Dental Board of Australia - June 2014
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June 2014

Issue 6 - June 2014

Scope of practice forums

The Dental Board of Australia’s (the National Board) revised Scope of practice registration standard will come into effect from 30 June 2014. To help practitioners prepare for the revised standard, the standard and associated guidelines have been published on the National Board’s website. See Revised Scope of practice registration standard in this newsletter for more detail.

The National Board is committed to working with the profession over the coming months to support the implementation of the revised standard and guidelines and ensure all dental practitioners are aware of their obligations and responsibilities.

We will begin conducting forums in July 2014. All dental practitioners are invited to attend the forum relevant to their jurisdiction. Our stakeholders will also be invited to attend the forums.

The forums will be held in:

  • Perth on 17 July
  • Melbourne on 25 July
  • Sydney on 31 July
  • Canberra on 1 August
  • Adelaide on 7 August
  • Hobart on 8 August
  • Darwin on 14 August, and
  • Brisbane on 15 August.

Please register your interest by 7 July via email to [email protected], providing your name, contact details, and location of the forum you wish to attend. Confirmed details of the time and venue will be circulated to those who register.

For those dental practitioners who are unable to attend the forum, we are exploring the use of other media such as webinars.

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What’s new from the Board?

Revised Scope of practice registration standard

The National Board’s revised Scope of practice registration standard and associated guidelines are published on the Board’s website.

All dental practitioners need to familiarise themselves with this information to ensure they meet the National Board’s requirements from 30 June.

The standard has been revised to be clearer, improve consumers’ access to oral health services and provide certainty to dental practitioners on the:

  • scope of practice for the different dental divisions, and
  • level of education and training expected for each division.

All dental practitioners are required to use sound professional judgement to assess their own (and their colleagues’) scope of practice – and only work within their areas of education, training and competence. All dental practitioners are responsible for the decisions, treatment and advice that they provide.

The National Board has also released frequently asked questions (FAQ) to help dental practitioners understand what they need to do to comply with the revised standard and associated guidelines.

The FAQ will be updated regularly to provide answers to questions about emerging issues.

The current registration standard remains in place until 29 June 2014.

Additional information is available on the National Board’s website:

Advertising guidelines: update

The National Board has acted on feedback received about the Guidelines for advertising regulated health services (Advertising guidelines) that were released in March and has published an update. The updated guidelines, FAQ and a fact sheet are published under Codes and guidelines on the Board’s website.

Anyone who advertises a regulated health service must meet the requirements of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law). This includes registered health practitioners, individuals who are not health practitioners and businesses.

No new requirements have been added.

The updated Advertising guidelines were edited to make them clearer, particularly that:

  • under the National Law, testimonials are not allowed when advertising a regulated health service
  • the obligations of the National Law about advertising only apply when a regulated health service is being advertised, and
  • the National Law is not intended to stop members of the community and patients from discussing their experiences online or in person.

The National Board would like to thank everyone who provided feedback on the guidelines. Whenever possible, this feedback was taken into account and used to update the guidelines.

Much of the feedback was about the ban on using testimonials in advertising a regulated health service. This is a requirement of the National Law, which is something National Boards are obliged to implement. The terms of reference for a scheduled review of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (the scheme regulating registered health practitioners in Australia) include a point relating to advertising, and interested health practitioners and members of the public are encouraged to provide feedback about the legislation. More information is available on the AHMAC website.

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Current work of the Board

Dental specialties – competencies

The National Board has begun a substantial body of work on dental specialties (specialist project). The Dental Council (NZ) is an official partner with the National Board in the specialist project. Developing the framework and competency documents in collaboration with the Dental Council (NZ) is imperative in light of the Trans-Tasman mutual recognition that enables registration between Australia and New Zealand.

The documents developed in the specialist project will be used in both jurisdictions, as relevant, to help establish standards for specialist registration, noting that there are some differences between the two jurisdictions’ lists of recognised specialities.

The National Board and Dental Council (NZ) will consult widely about the draft documents.

A joint communiqué about the specialist project is available on the Communiques page on the National Board’s website.

Consultation on registration standards and guidelines

The National Board has released a consultation paper on the review of:

  • registration standards:
    • professional indemnity insurance
    • continuing professional development
    • recency of practice
    • endorsement for conscious sedation, and
    • specialist, and
  • guidelines on continuing professional development.

This stage of consultation is open to everyone. We encourage all interested practitioners, members of the community and other stakeholders to have input. The consultation paper can be found on the Current consultations page.

The public consultation is open until 14 July 2014.

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Continuing professional development (CPD)

The CPD registration standard is very flexible in its approach to the types of CPD activities a dental practitioner may undertake and the number of hours that can be spent on each activity. The registration standard and the CPD guidelines (which provide more detail about CPD requirements) are published on the National Board's website.

The National Board expects dental practitioners to engage in a range of CPD activities in line with the objectives of CPD. We expect dental practitioners to undertake a variety of activities. For example, if you oversee examinations you should not rely solely on those activities to meet the requirements of the CPD registration standard. Similarly, reading journal articles or preparing and delivering lectures on dental topics to dental practitioners should not be the only CPD activities you undertake.

What evidence of compliance do I need to provide?

You are responsible for providing evidence of compliance with the registration standard.

You must keep a record of your CPD activities. You will need to provide this record when requested by the National Board, such as during a compliance audit or investigation of a notification.

The entry needs to contain at least the following information for each activity:

  • the CPD activity provider’s name
  • the CPD activity name
  • journal name, article name, author (where applicable)
  • date, time and location of the CPD activity
  • number of CPD hours (excluding breaks), and
  • type of CPD hours (scientific/non scientific) that are awarded as a result of completing the activity.

When you have been provided with documented evidence of participation in a CPD activity you should include this as part of your CPD record. This would usually be a certificate of attendance or other form of verification of attendance. However, such certification need not be a formal document – it could be an email or an end-of-year summary from the course provider.

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Dental practitioner audit

Dental practitioner audits are an important part of the way the National Board can better protect the public. They help to ensure that practitioners are meeting the mandatory registrations standards and provide important assurance to the community and the Boards.

An audit page has been published on our website under the Registration tab to keep dental practitioners informed and provide information and tools to help practitioners who are selected for audit in 2014.

Under the National Law, AHPRA (on behalf of the National Board) can ask you to provide evidence that you meet the standards, as declared in your previous annual statement. Your annual statement is made when you apply to renew your registration. Practitioners are required to declare that these statements are ‘true and correct’.

The annual statement also includes statements about whether:

  • you have met the recency of practice requirements stated in the Board’s Recency of practice registration standard
  • you have met the Board’s CPD requirements as set out in the Board’s CPD registration standard during the previous registration period
  • you have practised in accordance with the requirements of the Board’s Professional indemnity insurance (PII) arrangements registration standard, and whether you commit to practise in accordance with that registration standard if your registration is renewed, and
  • whether there was any change in your criminal history during the previous registration period and if you have any other criminal history that has not been disclosed to AHPRA.

How will I know if I am being audited?

Audits of random samples of dental practitioners will occur periodically throughout the coming year. If you are selected for audit, you will receive an audit notice in the mail from AHPRA. It includes a checklist that outlines what supporting documentation is required to demonstrate that you meet the standard(s) being audited.

What is being audited?

Your audit notice letter will identify which standard/standards are being audited. One or more of the following four mandatory registration standards may be audited:

  • criminal history
  • English language skills
  • recency of practice, and
  • continuing professional development.

All of these standards are published on the Dental Board’s website under the Registration standards tab.

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Review of accreditation standards

The Australian Dental Council (ADC) is the accreditation authority responsible for accrediting education providers and programs of study for the dental profession.

The joint ADC/Dental Council (NZ) (ADC/DC (NZ)) accreditation standards for general dentistry programs, dental specialty programs, and dental hygienist, dental therapist and oral health therapist programs transitioned as approved accreditation standards on 1 July 2010 under section 253(3) of the National Law. On 14 October 2011 the National Board, in accordance with section 47 of the National Law, approved accreditation standards for dental prosthetist programs.

The ADC, National Board and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) have agreed to a Quality framework for the accreditation function (Quality framework) to support quality assurance and continuous quality improvement of accreditation under the National Law. It is a requirement of the Quality framework that program accreditation standards are regularly reviewed.

The ADC/DC (NZ) is in the process of reviewing the current accreditation standards to:

  • incorporate contemporary education practice
  • encompass new regulatory changes in the education sector, and
  • include governmental directions.

The ADC/DC (NZ) aims to complete the review of accreditation standards by November 2014. In accordance with section 47 of the National Law the revised accreditation standards will be provided to the National Board for approval.

The National Board has also asked the ADC to develop Professional attributes and competencies of the newly qualified dental prosthetist. This document will be developed by the ADC in consultation with the profession.

Further information can be found on the ADC website.

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Snapshot of the profession

The National Board publishes quarterly data updates detailing workforce statistics. At the end of March 2014 there were 20,611 registered dental practitioners throughout Australia. This is an increase of 842 practitioners since March 2013.

The number of registered dental practitioners by state and territory, registration type and division is illustrated in the table below.

Dental practitioners: Registration numbers by division by state/territory (March 2014) 

Dental Practitioner  ACT  NSW  NT  QLD  SA  TAS  VIC  WA  No PPP  Total 
Dental Hygenist  41  376  132  225  19  187  284  18  1,288 
Dental Hygienist and Dental Prosthetist  - 3 
Dental Hygienist and Dental Prosthetist and Dental Therapist 
Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist  10  54  162  67  131  54  491 
Dental Hygienist and Dentist  2 
Dental Hygienist and Oral Health Therapist  1 
Dental Prosthetist  15  416  237  53  48  339  86  1,201 
Dental Prosthetist and Dental Therapist  1 
Dental Therapist  16  226  17  198  94  51  170  316  1,093 
Dentist  283  4,969  106  3,017  1,141  221  3,724  1,644  464  15,569 
Oral Health Therapist  17  252  304  116  206  44  960 
Total  383  6,297  147  4,052  1,696  350  4,759  2,428  499  20,611 

Further information can be found on the Statistics page on the Board’s website.

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Update your contact details

Please check your contact details and update them if necessary in order to receive regular reminders from the Board and AHPRA. Email accounts should be set to receive communications from AHPRA and the Board to avoid misdirection to a ‘junk email’ or ‘spam’ box or account.

If you have not yet provided your email address to AHPRA or the Board, please do so as a matter of urgency.

To update your contact details, go to the AHPRA website, click Online Services, use your unique contact number (User ID) and follow the prompts. Your User ID is not your registration number. If you do not have a User ID complete an online enquiry form, selecting ‘User ID’ as the category of enquiry, or call 1300 419 495.

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Keep in touch with the Board

As always, we encourage all dental practitioners to regularly check the Dental Board website for information and updates relating to the dental profession.

  • Visit our website for information on the National Scheme and for the mandatory registration standards, codes, guidelines, policies and fact sheets. Board communiqués and consultation papers are published on the site under the News tab.
  • Lodge an online enquiry form.
  • For registration enquiries call 1300 419 495 (from within Australia) or +61 3 8708 9001 (for overseas callers).
  • Address mail correspondence to: Executive Officer, Dental Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne VIC 3001.

AHPRA state and territory office locations are listed on the AHPRA website.

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Page reviewed 30/11/2023