The Australian Dental Association today delivered a petition to the Federal Health Minister, the Hon Peter Dutton MP, calling on the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council not to approve changes to the Dental Board of Australia's revised Scope of Practice Standard for dental practitioners.
The petition containing more than 5500 signatures demonstrates the community's concerns with the proposed changes outlined by the Dental Board of Australia in its public consultation of the revised draft Standard.
It is unclear if this issue will be dealt with by the Health Ministers at their April Council meeting. However, the ADA has taken the opportunity today to once again present its position to the Minister in a letter accompanying the petition.
Dr Karin Alexander, ADA President, said the ADA is concerned that if the Dental Board of Australia plans to remove the requirement for dentists to supervise allied dental practitioners as proposed in the draft Standard, it will place both patients and allied dental practitioners at risk.
"Australian dentists and allied dental practitioners have been delivering safe, quality team dental services for many decades. The use of the multi-disciplinary dental team, with the dentist as the clinical team leader, has enhanced dental practice, provided improved service delivery, efficiency and made positive impacts on the delivery of economic dental care. Any attempt to deconstruct existing structured professional relationships will potentially impact on the provision of seamless appropriate dental services for patients. It will also introduce inefficiencies which compromise safety and quality of care and potentially add an additional tier of costs to the patient. Patients must be provided with initial access to the comprehensive assessment, diagnosis and treatment planning that can only be carried out by a dentist.
The ADA is concerned that lifting the supervision requirement fails to recognise that many allied dental practitioners are not educationally prepared for independent practice and to remove this condition will compromise safety and quality.
Further details about the petition and the ADA's position on scope of practice are outlined at www.hopeforscope.com.au.