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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin July 2011
3 July 2011 ORAL HEALTH PUbLIC AWAREnESS CAMPAIGnS Members may have noticed a recent increase in interest by the media in teeth whitening and I am able to inform you that this was by design not chance. A public awareness campaign has been run in response to feedback received from the public and our members (see www.teethwhiteningfacts.com.au). The aim of the campaign was to educate the public about over the counter teeth whitening products, the perils of whitening by non-dental persons such as beauticians and the safety benefits of professional teeth whitening by dentists. This campaign was run during May hence the media interest. Although yet to be evaluated it appears our message got across and the public are now aware of some of the clinical and legal issues of persons in shopping centre booths and beauticians carrying out teeth whitening procedures. The ADA Inc.’s Oral Health Committee chaired by Dr Peter Alldritt, has a number of public educational campaigns in 2011 from Mouthguard Awareness to Dental Health Week and a Babies and Toddlers programme. Members should be aware that information on the programmes is available on the ADA Inc. website and all Branch Presidents have been informed of the 2011 timetable. It is also worth noting that the initiatives discussed above fit into the ADA‘s current Strategic Plan as do all the media strategies that occur, both overt and covert. dEnTIST WORKfORCE nUMbERS Over recent years we have seen the view espoused that there was an under supply of dentists in Australia and as a result the current and future dental needs of the community would be unable to be met. While this may have been the case, the ADA has over more recent times advocated that these workforce projections were flawed and that the dental workforce issue in Australia was not one of a lack of numbers but rather a maldistribution problem; with those rural and remote areas having an undersupply and the major metropolitan areas having more than an adequate supply. This maldistribution issue has been accepted by government as the ADA’s evidence presented in numerous forums has been tested and found to be correct. The ADA is now concerned that we are heading for an oversupply in the dental workforce as there has been an increase in the number of dental schools from five to nine in the last few years. On top of this many of the original schools have increased their student intake and of course we have those that enter the dental workforce through the Australian Dental Council (ADC) pathway. Members would probably be surprised to know that by 2016 there is likely to be in the vicinity of 700 new graduates annually entering the workforce from the universities alone. With the ADC programme producing more dentists than any individual school we are in for significant changes to dentist workforce numbers. It also appears that the increased numbers of new dentists entering the workforce will be exacerbated by a change in the retirement intentions of the existing dentists. A recent article Retirement Intentions of Dentists in New South Wales, Australia by Schofield et al, Human Resources For Health, 2010 has indicated that “The current generation of older dentists intends to retire later than their predecessors” and rather than the traditional notion of retirement of stopping work completely, the current older dentists “wish to remain involved in dentistry in some capacity following retirement...either by practising part-time or training dental students”. As the rationale in establishing some of the new dental schools in regional areas was to assist in addressing the lack of dental personnel in rural and remote parts of Australia, we will need to await the outcome of this to determine its success. We hope that in time the experiment will be successful and help solve this long standing problem. In the meantime, the ADA will continue to provide evidence and statistics to demonstrate that any further continued expansion of the dental education programme should cease and the government should conduct a valid workforce assessment to satisfy themselves that what the ADA is saying is correct. F. Shane Fryer Federal President president’s comments “...we are in for significant changes to dentist workforce numbers.”
ADA News Bulletin June 2011
ADA News Bulletin August 2011