Home' News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin February 2016 Contents PRESIDENT’S COMMENTS
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THE ARRIVAL OF THE NEW YEAR brings new hope, new challenges and new colleagues. I congratulate
and welcome to the profession all recent graduates from the nine Australian dental schools.
I hope these new additions to the dental workforce find fulfilling employment in an increasingly
I invite new members to use the valuable resources offered by the ADA. Staff at both the Federal
Office and Branches are ready, willing and able to help address any issues that may arise.
The ADA continues to press universities and governments to impose a cap on the number of new dental
students. Despite this, the quest for financial viability by universities has resulted in the number of new
graduates and new entrants to dental schools continuing to increase.
So, what would I say to school leavers considering a career as a dentist? Well, dentistry is a
different profession now from the one I chose 45 years ago. Then, fluoride was just starting
to offer hope that dentistry would be less about extractions and dentures and more about
preventive and restorative dentistry. My grandparents all had full dentures and my four
children have very few restorations between them. Our new challenge is to reduce the
prevalence of caries and the pain and suffering to new and lower targets.
There will always be a need for caring, skillful and professional dentists and I remain hopeful
that the community can be encouraged to continue to seek our professional services. Plans
are in the pipeline for increased advocacy by the ADA on the importance of regular dental
care from a dentist.
Some recent graduates report difficulty securing full-time employment even though many
move to regional and remote Australia. One-third of recent graduates responding to the
ADA survey late last year wrote tales of woe when job seeking. This month 640 newly
graduated dentists join the workforce; approximately 280 dentists are expected to retire
each year; and population growth anticipates work for a further 220 dentists.
AUSTRALIAN COUNCIL OF DENTAL SCHOOLS (ACODS)
In December, I met with ACODS during its two-day meeting held in Brisbane. All
dental schools face challenges recruiting teaching staff, providing appropriate clinical
experiences and patients: schools in regional centres have difficulty finding patients for
dental students; clinical placements remote from the schools are part and parcel of most
dentist programmes; and schools rely on dentists as pro bono clinical teachers. Two
schools valued pro bono time at $6 million per school.
As indicated in my December President’s comments, the ADA made a submission to the
Minister’s Review of PHI (see ADA website for the full submission). At its December meeting,
Federal Executive met with the Deputy Commonwealth Ombudsman, Mr David MacGregor,
whose responsibilities include PHIO. He reassured ADA that his office will continue to provide
PHIO published data and took considerable interest in ADA’s perspectives on PHI behaviour.
In particular, the legality of different rebates with different providers depending on a contract
with PHI was discussed. PHI can legally provide a service at no cost to the contributor but the
legal doubt arises when the patient still has to pay a component.
A FRESH APPROACH
Like any new year, 2016 ushers in the possibility of a fresh start, and the ADA is taking this
opportunity to unveil a new look and feel to our flagship communications.
One of the first manifestations of this is in the News Bulletin you hold in your hands. Not only has the
magazine’s design been updated but its contents will be more relevant, more interesting, and more
readable. These changes reflect the feedback you provided through the July 2015 readership survey
and, in a broader sense, our new approach to communicating with you.
We hope you enjoy this new look, to be followed by the launch of a new and improved ada.org.au.
ADA NEWS BULLETIN | FEBRUARY 2016 | 1
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