Scope of practice: What is the current status?

13 March 2019

Last Friday, health ministers at the COAG Health Council meeting decided to refer the review of the scope of practice standards to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) for further work.

While the details of this decision are yet to be made available, the ADA, which is pleased by this decision, understands that ministers took this decision so the ACSQHC could consider the public safety issues that may arise from any changes to the Scope of Practice Standards.

As members are aware, the ADA has been strongly advocating for public safety issues to be fully considered in any decision on the issue.

This campaign has involved submissions during the consultation phase, a report card raising concerns with the Dental Board of Australia and in the days prior to the COAG meeting, a research report for ministers comparing international models to those proposed locally. Almost every ADA branch contacted the premier or chief minister of the state or territory in the days leading up to the meeting.

This decision by ministers will, it is hoped, provide an avenue for a genuine and open look at the concerns raised and how they might be addressed.

While we acknowledge that the ADA has campaigned very actively around the concerns of a majority of members, the referral to the ACSQHC appears to be an opportunity for us to come to the table and try to work toward a resolution.

We will keep members informed as we progress as we’re aware of members concerns and interest on the proposed scope of practice changes.

We’d like to publicly thank each and every member and those ADA branches for supporting the campaign to this point. It is only with a strong, clear and consistent message that we are able to ensure the unified voice of dentists is heard by ministers.