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News Bulletin : ADA News Bulletin September 2011
16 SePtember 2011 An UPDATe FROm THe Dental Workforce education Committee committee report The environment of health reform and an emphasis on health workforce reform continues to dominate much of the time and effort of the Dental Workforce Education Committee (DWEC). Many government reviews are being undertaken and while not all are directly related to dentistry, they have the potential to provide benchmarks which may influence dentistry in the future. That is why DWEC and ADA Inc. are taking a proactive approach to dealing with health workforce issues. Some of the work that we have recently been involved with include: • Projects being undertaking under the auspices of Health Workforce Australia’s such as: – Mapping clinical placements; – Review of the scope of practice of dental hygienists, dental therapists and oral health therapists; • The Australian Dental Council’s (ADC) work around: – Articulation of the professional attributes and competencies of the newly qualified dental hygienist/dental therapist/oral health therapist; – Accreditation standards for dental prosthetists; – Peer evaluation in dental specialty accreditation processes; • Responding to the Dental Board of Australia’s (DBA): – Consultation Draft on limited registration; – Proposed guidelines on supervision (for limited registration); – Specialist registration – oral medicine and oral pathology; • Preparing a submission in response to the Australian Health Workforce Ministerial Council (AHWMC) on the Consultation paper Options for regulation of unregistered health practitioners; and • Continuing to liaise with the Community Services and Health Industry Skills Council regarding the training of allied oral health professionals in the vocational education and training sector. An issue of great concern to many ADA members is the increase in the number of dental practitioners being trained in Australia. This is as a result of an increase in student numbers in the five dental schools that have been in existence for many years and the introduction of four new dental schools. When combined with the number of dentists registering in Australia after successful completion of the ADC examinations, it is not surprising that concerns are being expressed that Australia is heading towards an oversupply of dental practitioners. Anecdotal evidence indicates that the larger dentist numbers are already influencing the employment market with an increasing number of reports of newly graduated dental practitioners facing difficulties in obtaining full-time employment. According to the Australian Research Centre of Population Oral Health (ARCPOH) projections: “Of the various scenarios examined, it was contended that the ‘most likely’ supply scenario was that of 140 additional dentist graduates (from 2013 onwards). This scenario projected that supply in 2020 would be approximately 36.0 million visits. The most likely demand projection was argued to be that of half growth in PCD, which projected that demand would be 38.8 million visits by 2020. These ‘most likely’ supply and demand projections result in an estimated supply shortfall of 2.8 million dental visits. This equates to an undersupply of 1,000 to 1,100 dental practitioners (on the basis of current productivity levels).” 1 DWEC is looking at this issue carefully and calculations suggest that the expectation of “140 additional dentist graduates (from 2013 onwards)” has been overshadowed by the large unexpected increase in dental student numbers. For example, it is estimated that there are approximately 450 dentistry students in the penultimate year of the various programs around Australia, the vast majority of whom are expected to graduate in 2013. This figure does not include students from James Cook or Charles Sturt Universities whose first batch of dentistry students are expected to graduate after 2013, the increase in the number of successful ADC candidates who decide to register in Australia, nor the increase in oral health therapist student numbers. When the dentist graduation figures are projected out, they reach the high hundreds by 2020. ADA Federal President, Dr Shane Fryer, explained in the News Bulletin (July 2011) that “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.” As your representative group looking at workforce and education issues, we can assure you that DWEC will continue to keep a close eye on these issues and is liaising closely with Federal Executive. Len Crocombe Chairman Dental Workforce Education Committee (DWEC) If you would like DWEC to consider a workforce or education issue, please don’t hesitate to contact either the Committee Secretary, Susan Munroe on 02 990604917 or the Chairman at any time. REfEREnCES 1. Teusner DN, Chrisopoulos S, Spencer AJ. Projected demand and supply for dental visits in Australia: analysis of the impact of changes in key inputs. AIHW Cat. no. DEN 171 . Dental Statistics and Research Series No. 38. Canberra: AIHW DSRU, 2008;viii.
ADA News Bulletin August 2011
ADA News Bulletin October 2011