Message from the President
As you will all be aware, the COVID-19 environment is changing at a rapid pace and the impacts continue to be felt by us all. The Council has kept dental practitioners updated on developments through its various notices.
We continue to receive enquiries from dental practitioners regarding updates whenever our government/NSW Health announces changes to restrictions and/or affected local government areas. Noting the rate at which developments are occurring, the Council will not continue to provide updates following every change that is announced.
We know that dental practitioners are doing their best to ensure that they are adhering to the Public Health Orders/restrictions and are seeking to keep abreast of the latest developments, to ensure that themselves, their patients and their staff are kept safe.
The Council wishes to reiterate the following to all dental practitioners:
- the Public Health Orders and/or restrictions have been placed by our government/NSW Health to prevent unnecessary movement of the community and to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission at this time
- it is advised that in those areas where there is a heightened risk of COVID-19 and/or increased cases, only emergency/urgent and/or essential care should be delivered in line with the restrictions that are in place in your local government area. Dental care that does not meet this criteria should be deferred in those impacted areas
- a risk assessment must be undertaken for each and every patient and this should take into account the Public Health Orders/restrictions; infection control risks, in particular the possible transmission of COVID-19, and the local environment/locality in which the clinical care/treatment is being delivered
- the provision of care should always be aimed at achieving an optimum outcome. In this assessment, you should also evaluate whether delaying treatment may lead to an unfavourable result
- you must always exercise professional judgement when determining the clinical care/treatment that is being proposed/delivered to each of your patients and consider whether it is appropriate to undertake the care/treatment at this time
- infection control standards and guidelines must be adhered to at all times. A number of resources relating to the use of PPE have been developed, and these can be accessed via the NSW Health website and the ADA COVID-19 resource portal
- you have a professional obligation to ensure the safety of your patients, staff, and yourselves at all times within the dental practice setting
- you must keep abreast of the latest developments via the NSW Health website and adhere to the advice of our government/NSW Health and, in particular, in relation to your local government area.
The Council acknowledges the impact that COVID-19 and the current Public Health Orders/restrictions are having on all of us, and that the effects on individual practitioners will differ. If you are experiencing difficulties at this time, it is important that you reach out for help and/or assistance.
Dental Practitioner Support is available for all dental practitioners, students, employers, educators and concerned family and friends. It is a well-being support service funded by the Dental Board of Australia. An experienced team of counsellors will provide confidential and immediate support.
Dental Practitioner Support can be accessed via 24/7 telephone at 1800 377 700 or at dpsupport.org.au
Thank you again for ensuring that our patients, staff and community remain safe.
Clinical Associate Professor F. Shane Fryer OAM
President, Dental Council of NSW