The Dental Council of NSW continue to receive an increasing number of complaints about dentists, hygienists and prosthetists regarding deficiencies in infection control protocols within dental surgeries. These deficiencies relate to the cleaning, sterilisation and storage of instruments.
Dental practitioners must practise in a way that maintains and enhances public health and safety by ensuring that the risk of the spread of infectious diseases is prevented or minimised. All dental practitioners should acquaint themselves with the Dental Board of Australia’s Guidelines on Infection Control and are reminded that they are professionally responsible for ensuring compliance with the guidelines. This includes students as well as practitioners, whether employed or subcontractors.
Dental practitioners are required to declare that they are compliant with these guidelines and all other codes and guidelines at the time of their annual renewal of registration with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
Inspections of dental practices
The Dental Council of NSW is required by law to exercise a protective jurisdiction for the people of NSW. It views breaches of the Dental Board of Australia's Guidelines on infection control seriously.
Authorised Persons assist the Council to enter and inspect a practice, regardless of whether a complaint has been made against a practitioner, in order to confirm compliance with the Dental Board of Australia’s Guidelines on infection control. The Council’s expectation is that the practitioner will make themselves available at the practice for the inspection and will assist the Authorised Person in the carrying out of their functions during the inspection. The National Law allows the Authorised Person to undertake the following duties in relation to the practice of the health profession:
- enter and inspect the premises
- request records be produced
- inspect, take copies of, or extracts or notes from, the records and/or seize the records
- examine and inspect any apparatus or equipment
- take photographs, films or audio, video and other recordings
- require any person on the premises to answer questions or otherwise provide information.
A number of resources have been made available on the Council’s web site relating to infection control and practitioner obligations in relation to this matter.