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30 Nov 2019 | Oral Hygiene

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Updated Scope of Practice for hygienists and therapists

The ADOHTA and DHAA welcome the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) Health Council's decision to approve the proposed Dental Board of Australia's Scope of Practice Standard.


The new standard, when implemented, has removed the phrase "not an independent practitioner" and requirements for a structured professional relationship between a dentist and dental therapists, dental hygienists or oral health therapists. The decision came after significant work completed by the Dental Board of Australia to review the existing registration standards for dental practitioners. In addition to the strong evidence available, the change was also independently assessed by the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC). The Commission agreed that the proposed change will not have any adverse effect on patient safety and quality. ADOHTA President, Leticia Masters, is thrilled to see the Scope of Practice Standard finally reflect contemporary oral health care practices. She is confident the revised standard, which focuses upon team based practice with autonomous decision making, is a model that optimises the best care for all patients. The standard ensures high quality and safe delivery of service. "All consumers should receive dental care by the most appropriate dental practitioner at the right place, at the right time," she said. DHAA President, Cheryl Dey, applauds the collective efforts of the Dental Board and the Health Ministers in taking the appropriate steps to improve the effectiveness of the dental workforce. "In practice, dental therapists, dental hygienists and oral health therapists will continue to work collaboratively with dentists and other health professionals. But the revised standards will enable all practitioners to utilise their full range of skills and as a result increase accessibility to oral health care to the public." ADOHTA and DHAA look forward to working closely with The Board, all levels of government and stakeholders to support the implementation of the revised Scope of Practice Registration Standard over coming months.

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