Dental Council update

Treatment for patients who turned 18 years old during lock down

We have received a number of queries from oral health and dental therapists about whether they can treat patients who turned 18 during the COVID-19 lockdown and whose treatment was delayed as a result of restrictions on dental practice during this time. 

We understand the GDB has been extended by the Ministry of Health for these patients. However, if you are an oral health or dental therapist, and treating patients over the age of 18 is outside your scope of practice, then you cannot treat these patients.

This means only dental therapists registered in the Adult Care in Dental Therapy Scope of Practice and oral health therapists who do not have the exclusion – Restorative treatment on patients 18 years and older – on their scope of practice, can provide restorative treatment to patients over the age of 18.

If restorative treatment has been delayed for patients during the COVID 19 lockdown who have since turned 18, then treatment must be provided by a practitioner whose scope of practice allows them to treat adult patients.

Allied health reporting

The Ministry of Health is requesting data from practitioners who provided emergency or urgent dental treatment during the lockdown. We will be in touch with practitioners in due course to collect the information the Ministry needs.

Ministry of Health consultation on core performance standards for responsible authorities

The Dental Council is one of 16 responsible authorities under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act).

The Ministry of Health is currently seeking feedback on draft Terms of Reference and core standards for performance reviews of responsible authorities. (See the Ministry of Health website for more information about responsible authorities.)

When the Act was amended in 2019, one of the amendments introduced regular, independent performance reviews for responsible authorities (refer s 122A of the Act) including the Dental Council. This is in line with international trends in health occupational regulation, which include a strengthening of consumer protection, standardisation of legislation and institutional design, and improving the overall performance of regulators.

This consultation document outlines the rationale for performance reviews, issues to be addressed, and key points regarding development of the reviews.

The Ministry proposes (general) terms of reference and performance standards for the reviews and has invited feedback from our stakeholders on those proposals.

Submitting feedback

Please note this is not a Dental Council consultation process and feedback should be provided directly to the Ministry as follows:

The deadline for submissions to the Ministry is 26 June 2020.

Certifying role for registered dentists proposed under 111 contact code

The Commerce Commission is seeking feedback on their draft 111 contact code.

Under the code home phone customers on new technology who consider themselves as being at a greater risk of needing to call 111, may qualify for extra support at no cost.

The code proposes that certain professions and community leaders, including dentists, are deemed ‘person of standing’ and can certify applications from home phone customers to their providers for extra support.

The code also requires telecommunications providers regularly remind their customers that new technologies will not work in a power cut, how to protect themselves and what further support is available.

This short overview  of the proposed code also suggests ways consumers can protect themselves.

Feedback on the 111 Contact Code is due by 5pm, Wednesday 17 July 2020 and can be provided either by completing the online survey or by making a submission.


Andrew Gray & Marie Warner

Chair & Chief Executive