The Dental Council of NSW continues to receive a number of complaints about dental practitioners and their infection control protocols.
Effective infection prevention and control is central to providing high quality health care for patients and a safe working environment for those that work in healthcare settings.
Dental practitioners are expected to practise in a way that maintains and enhances public health and safety by ensuring that the risk of the spread of infection is prevented or minimised. All practitioners are expected to know how to use infection prevention and control systems to provide safe and effective patient care.
The Dental Board of Australia (the Board) has published additional information and resources to help dental practitioners meet their obligations to practise safely and to critically reflect on how they practise.
Practitioners are expected to practise in line with approved standards, codes and guidelines and must also be aware of and comply with state, territory or federal legal requirements relating to infection prevention and control.
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 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 approved standards, codes and obligations regarding infection prevention and 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 website relating to infection control and practitioner obligations.