Dental Board of Australia - November 2012
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November 2012

Dental Board of Australia Newsletter

Issue 3, November 2012

The Board – its second term 
Reminder: renewal 2013 
Continuing professional development – first three-year cycle ends June 2013 
Scope of practice registration standard 
What’s new from the Board? Policies, guidelines, fact sheets 
Registration as an oral health therapist – New Zealand qualifications 
Expert Reference Group – Specialist 
What documentation is the Board developing? 
Audit of compliance with registration standards 
MOU signed with Dental Council of New Zealand 
Health Workforce Australia – oral health workforce plan 
Latest snapshot of registered dental workforce 
Health Profession Agreement 
Review of accreditation functions 
AHPRA’s 2012-13 business plan and service charter 
Keeping informed 
Updating your contact information 
Contacting the Board

Welcome to the Dental Board of Australia’s November 2012 newsletter.

The Board – its second term

The inaugural Dental Board of Australia (the Board) has now completed its first-three year term. In farewelling the four members who are not continuing on the Board (Dr Carmelo Bonanno, Mr Peter Martin, Dr John Owen AM, and Ms Myra Pincott AO), the Board reflected on the significant work undertaken since it first met in September 2009 and thanked the members for their significant involvement and valued contribution over the past three years. Four new members have joined the Board and eight members have been reappointed. The appointments are for three years commencing on 30 August 2012 and are made by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (AHWMC).

Membership of the Dental Board of Australia

Name Position 
Dr John Lockwood Reappointed as Chair and a practitioner member (dentist) from New South Wales 
Ms Susan Aldenhoven Reappointed as a practitioner member (dental hygienist) from South Australia
Ms Jennifer Bishop Reappointed as a practitioner member (oral health therapist) from Queensland
Professor Paul Abbott Appointed as a practitioner member (dentist) from Western Australia
Dr Gerard Condon Reappointed as a practitioner member (dentist) from Victoria
Dr Murray Thomas Appointed as a practitioner member (dentist) from the Australian Capital Territory
Dr Mark Leedham Reappointed as a practitioner member (dentist) from the Northern Territory
Mr Paul House Reappointed as a practitioner member (dental prosthetist) from Tasmania
Mr Michael Miceli Reappointed as a community member
Mr Stephen Herrick Reappointed as a community member
Ms Alison von Bibra Appointed as a community member
Ms Alison Faigniez Appointed as a community member

REMINDER: renewal 2013 – renew registration online and on time

Dental practitioners across Australia are reminded that their registration is due for renewal by 30 November 2012. Practitioners are urged to renew their registration on time. The quickest and easiest way to do this is online (more than 80% of dental practitioners used this secure service last year).

Dental practitioners who have provided up-to-date email details to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) should have received an emailed renewal reminder from AHPRA.

Dental practitioners who do not want to renew their registration can simply ignore the reminders from AHPRA or go online to ‘opt out’ of renewing. This new online facility will provide the Board and AHPRA with better data on the number of dental practitioners who choose to opt out of renewing their registration, to distinguish them from individuals who intend to renew, but do not do so on time. Using the ‘opt out’ service puts a stop to renewal reminders.

Renewal applications received by AHPRA after 30 November will incur an additional late fee. If you haven't renewed by one month after 30 November 2012, your registration will lapse. This means you must apply again for registration and will not be able to practise your profession until your registration application has been finalised.

FAQs about renewal can be found on the website on the Renewal of Registration FAQ page.

Continuing professional development (CPD) – first three-year cycle ends June 2013

Practitioners are required to make a declaration at renewal about whether or not they have met the Board’s continuing professional development (CPD) requirements during the preceding period of registration. The Board requires practitioners to undertake continuing professional development (CPD) activities as a condition of registration. The Board expects that dental practitioners undertake some CPD activities each year. Specifically practitioners must complete a minimum of 60 hours of CPD activities over three years and 80% of the minimum 60 hours must be clinically or scientifically based.

Practitioners are reminded that the current three-year CPD cycle ends on 30 June 2013. For more information, view the full registration standard online under the Registration Standards section of the website.

Scope of practice registration standard

Release of the Health Workforce Australia report

As reported in the last newsletter AHWMC released a copy of the Scope of Practice Review Oral Health Practitioners report (the HWA report) to the Board in May 2012. In addition to providing the HWA report for the Board’s consideration AHWMC requested that the Board provide advice on the scope of practice and new models of care and training to Ministers, as part of its review of its Scope of practice registration standard (the Standard).

The HWA report was released publicly on 17 August 2012 and can be found on the HWA website.

Review of the scope of practice registration standard
The Board established a Scope of Practice Review Committee (the committee) to consider the issues raised by AHWMC and in the HWA report and to lead the Board’s review of the Standard. The Board’s review of the Standard relates to all divisions of registered dental practitioners and the committee appointed by the Board to steer the review is made up of representatives from all divisions.

During the initial phase of the review in October 2012 the Board held a forum of key national organisations and released a discussion paper to gather feedback on the key matters in the Standard that are to be reviewed. The following key stakeholders were invited to attend the forum and provide feedback about the discussion paper:

  • AHMAC Health Workforce Principal Committee
  • Australasian Council of Dental Schools
  • Australian Dental Association Inc.
  • Australian Dental Council
  • Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists’ Association
  • Australian Dental Prosthetists Association
  • Australian Dental Prosthetists and Dental Technicians Educational Advisory Council
  • Dental Hygienists’ Association of Australia Inc.
  • Council of Oral Health Academics
  • Health Workforce Australia
  • National Dental Directors Committee
  • TAFE sector.

A period of public consultation about the Scope of practice registration standard is planned for April-May 2013.

What’s new from the Board?

Since the release of its last newsletter the following new material has been published on the Board’s website:

Policy - acupuncture
The Board has released its policy setting out the requirements and process for dental practitioners wishing to practise acupuncture and use the title acupuncturist. The Board has decided not to establish an endorsement pathway for acupuncture at this time but has reached an agreement with the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia that any dental practitioner wishing to practise acupuncture and seeking to use the title acupuncturist should apply to the Chinese Medicine Board of Australia for registration as an acupuncturist.

The Board’s policy on acupuncture can be found on the Policies, Codes and Guidelines page.

Fact sheet - botulinum toxin
In response to requests for further information and clarification of its Interim policy - botulinum toxin the Board has developed a fact sheet which is available on the FAQ and Fact Sheets page.

The fact sheet seeks to clarify the use of botulinum toxin by dental practitioners. As previously advised, the Board supports the use of botulinum toxin by registered dentists who have the education, training and competence for the treatment of temporomandibular joint disorder/dysfunction.

Fact sheet - recency of practice/return to practice
A range of material about the Board’s national approach to recency of practice / return to practice has now been published on the Board’s website on the Recency of Practice page.

The Board’s Recency of Practice/Return to Practice Working Group is also looking at identifying relevant organisations that can develop and/or administer national 'competency' assessments for dental practitioners wishing to return to practice after a prolonged absence.

Fact sheet - use of title
The Board has developed a fact sheet outlining the obligations of dental practitioners in the use of specialist and other titles which is available on the FAQ and Fact Sheets page.

Guidelines – limited registration, supervision
After a period of extensive consultation the Board finalised and released the following two Guidelines:

  • Guidelines on limited registration of dental practitioners for postgraduate training or supervised practice (section 66)
  • Guidelines on supervision for dental practitioners

Updated versions of the following documents have also been published:

  • Guidelines on infection control (this now includes reference to the Communicable Diseases Network Australia's Australian National Guidelines for the Management of Health Care Workers known to be infected with Blood-Borne Viruses)
  • Guidelines on conscious sedation area of practice endorsement

Registration as an oral health therapist – New Zealand qualifications

The Board recently considered a report from its accreditation authority and has decided that the following degrees from New Zealand are substantially equivalent or based on similar competencies to an approved qualification for registration as an oral health therapist:

  • Bachelor of Oral Health, University of Otago (conferred from 2009)
  • Bachelor of Health Science in Oral Health, Auckland University of Technology (conferred from 2011).

Expert Reference Group – Specialist

The Board has established an Expert Reference Group – Specialist (ERGS) to provide advice to it in all specialist areas and to provide expertise in considering the upcoming review of the Specialist registration standard. In forming the group nominations were called for from all relevant specialist groups.

What documentation is the Board developing?

Review of registration standards, guidelines and codes
One of the Board’s functions under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory (the National Law) is to develop or approve standards, codes and guidelines for the dental profession. The Board must consult widely about any standards, codes or guidelines that it develops. Registration standards are developed by the Board and must be approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (Ministerial Council). The Board develops and approves its codes and guidelines.

The Board developed a range of registration standards before the start of the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme in 2010, which were approved by the Ministerial Council. Consistent with their responsibilities under the National Law, all National Boards developed registration standards for:

  1. The requirements for professional indemnity insurance
  2. Matters to be considered in deciding whether an individual’s criminal history is relevant to the practice of medicine
  3. Requirements for continuing professional development
  4. Requirements about the English language skills necessary for an applicant for registration to be suitable for registration
  5. Requirements in relation to the nature, extent, period and recency of any previous practice by applicants for registration.

In addition the Dental Board developed and had approved registration standards for:

  1. Scope of practice
  2. Specialist registration
  3. Endorsement in relation to conscious sedation.

All these registration standards took effect on 1 July 2010 and are due for review at least every three years.

The Dental Board is also due to review the:

  1. Code of Conduct
  2. Guidelines for mandatory notifications
  3. Guidelines for advertising of regulated health services
  4. Guidelines on continuing professional development
  5. Guidelines on dental records
  6. Guidelines on infection control.

Over the next few months, all National Boards will start a process to review the registration standards and the codes and guidelines that are due for review. The reviews will draw on the best available evidence and address issues that have been identified with the registration standards and the codes and guidelines in the first three years after implementation. A plan is being developed to try and minimise the impact on stakeholders of multiple consultation processes.

Social media policy
The Dental Board and the other 13 National Boards in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme (National Scheme) will release a consultation paper on a social media policy soon.

A draft of the social media policy was released as a preliminary consultation paper to targeted stakeholders for initial feedback, ahead of a wider public release. The preliminary consultation process aimed to ‘road test’ the initial draft to weigh operational impact, issues or initial concerns. The early draft generated a lot of interest. Feedback received will be carefully reviewed and taken into account in refining the draft social media policy before its release for public consultation.

When the formal public consultation process opens, the National Boards encourage feedback from registered health practitioners and members of the community on the draft social media policy.

Audit of health practitioners’ compliance with registration standards

All dental and other health practitioners registered under the National Law are required to comply with a range of registration standards. The registration standards are developed by each National Board after wide-ranging consultation and must be approved by the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council. All dental practitioners must comply with the registration standards including those related to English language, criminal history, recency of practice, continuing professional development, scope of practice, endorsement for conscious sedation and professional indemnity insurance.

AHPRA and the national boards are currently developing a nationally consistent approach to auditing health practitioners’ compliance with the mandatory registration standards.

Earlier this year the first phase of the pilot audit was conducted with the pharmacy profession and a second phase of the pilot is being run during registration renewal this year with the optometry, pharmacy and chiropractic professions.

The results from both phases of the pilot will be used to develop an overall auditing framework and audit program which will be rolled out to all regulated health professions across Australia during 2013/14.

Memorandum of Understanding signed between Dental Board of Australia and the Dental Council of New Zealand

In July the Chair and the Chief Executive Officer of the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) attended the Board meeting and met with representatives of the Board and AHPRA to discuss issues of relevance to both countries. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 27 July 2012 between the DCNZ and the Board which will provide a platform for improved communication and liaison between the two bodies in areas of registration and regulation.

Health Workforce Australia – oral health workforce plan

Representatives of the Board and Health Workforce Australia (HWA) met recently to discuss HWA’s Oral Health Workforce Plan project. The Oral Health Workforce Plan aims to improve understanding of supply and demand factors in relation to the oral health workforce in Australia and provide an information base for oral health policy makers and workforce planners. A representative of the Board will be part of this project’s Advisory Group. HWA is planning to for its final report from this project to be available in mid 2013.

Latest snapshot of registered dental workforce

The latest Board data show there are 19,252 dental practitioners registered in Australia. In October the Board released its quarterly registration data profiling Australia’s dental workforce, including a number of statistical breakdowns about registrants such as state/ territory, age and gender by registration type. These detailed statistics can be found on the Statistics page.

Dental practitioners: registration numbers by division by state/territory

Dental Hygienist 46 354 7 119 229 16 173 283 14 1,241
Dental Hygienist and Dental Prosthetist   1   1           2
Dental Hygienist and Dental Prosthetist and Dental Therapist   1         1     2
Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist 11 60 7 176 71 1 131 53 3 513
Dental Hygienist and Dentist 1
Dental Prosthetist 14 421 5 227 55 53 330 90 3 1,198
Dental Therapist 17 242 17 210 107 54  176 342   1,165
Dentist 260 4,749 98 2,763 1,109 212 3,482 1,518 296 14,487
Oral Health Therapist 8 168 4   265 61 4 130 2 1 643
Dental Practitioner 357 5,996 138 3,761 1,632 340 4,423 2,288 317 19,252

Health Profession Agreement

The National Law requires AHPRA and the Dental Board to enter into a Health Profession Agreement (HPA). In the interests of transparency and accountability, the Board and AHPRA have for the first time published the Health Profession Agreement that outlines the services that AHPRA will provide to the Board in 2012/13. Under the National Law, the Board and AHPRA work in partnership to implement the National Scheme, each with specific roles, powers and responsibilities set down in the National Law.
The guiding principles of the National Law require the National Scheme to operate in a ‘transparent, accountable, efficient, effective and fair way’; and for registration fees to be reasonable ‘having regard to the efficient and effective operation of the scheme’.

The Dental Board of Australia Health Profession Agreement can be found Health Profession Agreements page.

Review of accreditation functions

The National Law requires Boards to review the arrangements for the exercise of the accreditation functions no later than 30 June 2013. These arrangements have been in place since before the commencement of the National Law and the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council appointed the Australian Dental Council the accreditation authority for dental practitioners under the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme from 1 July 2010 for three years.

The Dental Board is currently reviewing its accreditation functions, as are the other nine National Boards that entered the National Scheme in 2010. The Dental Board released a public consultation paper on its website on 29 October 2012, for a six week consultation period ending 7 December 2012. The Dental Board encourages any interested parties to respond to the public consultation process. The preliminary view of the Dental Board which was supported by key stakeholders of the Board who responded to the preliminary consultation phase of the process is to continue the arrangements of exercising accreditation functions for dental practitioners through the Australian Dental Council.

AHPRA’s 2012-13 business plan and service charter

AHPRA recently released a service charter and its 2012-13 business plan, outlining how AHPRA will achieve future goals in implementing the national regulation scheme for health professionals.

The 2012-13 business plan illustrates how AHPRA will focus its efforts and work with National Boards to protect the public and facilitate access to health services over the coming year. The service charter sets out the values that guide AHPRA; the standards of service health practitioners, the public, employers and other stakeholders can expect; and the steps to be taken if these standards are not met.

The service charter, developed in consultation with health profession representatives, the community, National Boards and AHPRA staff, will be reviewed in 12 months.

Both documents are published on the AHPRA website.

Keeping informed

The Board’s website is its main means of communication and practitioners are encouraged to visit the website regularly and become familiar with its contents. Practitioners are encouraged to refer to the Board’s website for news and updates on policies and guidelines affecting their profession.

After each meeting the Board releases a communiqué outlining the key issues considered during the meeting, which are published on the Communiques page.

Consultation papers are also published on the website under News and the Board encourages dental practitioners and members of the community to provide feedback.

Updating your contact information

Dental practitioners should check their contact details, and update them if necessary, 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’ box or account.

Practitioners who have not yet provided AHPRA or the Board with their email contact information are encouraged to do so.

Practitioners seeking to update their contact information should go to the Online services section of the AHPRA website, use their unique contact number (User ID) and follow the prompts. The User ID is not the same as a registration number. Practitioners who do not have a User ID can get one by completing an online enquiry form, selecting ‘User ID’ as the category of enquiry, or by calling AHPRA on 1300 419 495.

Contacting the Board

Phone 1300 419 495 (within Australia) 
+61 3 8708 9001 (overseas callers)
 Mail Dr John Lockwood
Chair, Dental Board of Australia
GPO Box 9958 Melbourne Vic 3001
 Email Lodge an online enquiry form

Locations of AHPRA offices in the states and territories are listed on the AHPRA website under the About AHPRA tab.

Page reviewed 30/11/2023