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Dental Council to begin random infection control audits

Important notice from the Dental Council of NSW

As dental practitioners will be aware, the primary role of the Dental Council of NSW (the Council) is protection of the public.  Following a serious infection control breach, identified by the Council in July 2018 at a dental practice in Haberfield, the Council resolved that its policy relating to inspections be reviewed. 

The Council is writing to advise of a recent policy change regarding inspections of dental practices for the purpose of ensuring compliance with the Dental Board of Australia’s (the Board’s) infection control guidelines.  

As dental practitioners will be aware, the Council views breaches of the Board’s guidelines very seriously and will continue to take appropriate urgent action where concerns are raised relating to this matter.  This may result in your registration being suspended or conditions being placed on your registration.  The Council reiterates that all dental practitioners are professionally responsible for ensuring compliance with the Board’s guidelines on infection control. 

The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law) allows for an authorised person, appointed by the Council, to enter and inspect at any reasonable time premises that the authorised person believes on reasonable grounds are being used for the carrying on of the practice of the health profession.

To date, where a complaint has been received that has warranted inspection of a practice by Authorised Persons, prior notice has not been provided to the practitioner/practice of the scheduled date or time for the inspection.

As a result of this recent review, the Council has resolved that future infection control inspections are to be announced approximately 48 hours prior to the inspection occurring. This is subject to the nature of the notification received and will be varied at any time noting that the overriding concern will at all times be the protection of the public. This policy will also be mindful of the potential effect of weekends and public holidays unduly delaying an inspection.

In addition, and as a result of the recent infection control breach in Haberfield, the Council has resolved that future infection control inspections will be undertaken regardless of whether a complaint has been received.  As noted above, the practice/practitioner will receive notice prior to the inspection occurring.  

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.  

F. Shane Fryer OAM
Dental Council 


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