Update on COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)

Message from the President 

I am writing to update you on the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. The Council’s previous updates are available on our website. This update is of particular importance to dental practitioners in the local government areas of Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Maitland, Port Stephens, Cessnock, Dungog, Singleton and Muswellbrook

As you may be aware, from 5pm Thursday, 5 August 2021, COVID restrictions currently in place across Greater Sydney, including Wollongong and Shellharbour, the Central Coast and Blue Mountains were extended to also apply to the local government areas listed above. The restrictions in the newly added local government areas should be observed until 11:59pm on Thursday, 12 August 2021, unless extended.

These measures continue to be taken to prevent unnecessary movement of the community and to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. In support of this effort, dental practitioners throughout the newly added local government areas noted above should restrict practice to essential care/treatments only. Dental care that does not meet this criteria should be deferred.

The provision of care by registered dental practitioners should always be aimed at achieving an optimum outcome. In this assessment, practitioners should also evaluate whether delaying treatment may lead to an unfavourable result. 

The Council’s expectation is that practitioners will continue to use their professional judgement, based on the government’s announcements/restrictions, to ensure that the care being provided is appropriate to the COVID-19 risk in the individual practitioner’s locality. This includes in circumstances where the government/NSW Health announces restrictions in additional local government areas.

We continue to have a professional obligation to keep our patients, staff and ourselves safe and this includes continuing to adhere to infection control standards and guidelines at all times. The continued use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) by all persons within the dental premises, including waiting rooms, reception and clinics, is critical.

The Council has previously advised that NSW Health and the Australian Dental Association Inc. have developed and updated a number of resources relating to the use of PPE, and these can be accessed via the NSW Health website and the ADA COVID-19 resource portal.

Dental practitioners and their practices are obligated to ensure that they keep abreast of the latest government health advice, particularly in relation to their own local area, and this is available via the NSW Health website.

If you are experiencing difficulties, the Council strongly recommends you contact Dental Practitioner Support. This is a well-being support service for dental practitioners 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

On behalf of the Council, thank you for continuing to adhere to the Public Health Orders and restrictions and for ensuring our patients, staff and community remain safe.

Clinical Associate Professor F. Shane Fryer OAM