The potential for serious public harm from practitioners who do not follow adequate infection prevention practice is an issue that continues to concern the Council.
Practitioner’s compliance with the infection prevention and control (IPC) practice standard is a core part of practice. Council is aware that IPC knowledge and compliance is poor. I encourage all practitioners to read the article in this newsletter. Take some time to review the relevant practice standard and check to ensure you and everyone in your practice is familiar with the IPC requirements and is in fact complying.
Orthodontic treatment and frenectomies have been the subject of several media stories recently. We remind practitioners that the ethical principles and professional standards set out in the standards framework apply to all areas of your practice—including new or advanced areas. You must only practise within your professional knowledge, skills and competence, and only carry out a task or type of treatment if you have the knowledge and skills to do so competently within your scope of practice.
Another important reminder was highlighted recently in the Council’s decision to remove the 18-year age limit for restorative activities from the oral health therapy (OHT) scope of practice. In reaching its decision, the Council emphasised the importance of an effective consultative professional relationship between each OHT and a dentist/dental specialist. The guidance for working and consultative professional relationships are set out in the relevant practice standards (click “practice standards” on the standards framework interactive wheel).
Our newsletter covers two important consultations that are currently open. To improve public confidence in health regulation through greater transparency, changes made to the Health Practitioner Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) require us to have a “naming policy” in place by 1 April 2020. This policy, as set out in the consultation document, will outline our decision-making process around publicly releasing the names of practitioners including when we will release practitioner names and what we will consider when making that decision.
The other open consultation proposes changes to scopes of practice for all the professions to fix inconsistencies and possible ambiguities dating back to the time they were drafted when the Act was first enacted. The Council is proposing to make drafting changes to some scopes of practice and prescribed qualifications to provide clarity and eliminate any potential uncertainty.
We are looking forward to receiving your feedback and comments to help the Council reach its decisions on both these matters.
Some practitioners have inquired about the Council appointments. As you’ll see in our latest Annual Report although a number of appointments have expired, the current Council members will continue pending an announcement from the Minister of Health.