Update from our ADA President: can we keep practising?

Posted on 18th March 2020

Over the last 24 hours, we’ve seen mixed messages from international dental regulators and associations about the potential disruption of dental services, deferral of all non-essential treatment and forced closures.

Understandably, this has caused confusion and distress about what this means for us as business owners, employees, contractors, academics, researchers and students, and as an entire profession.

Last night, we called a meeting with ADA Branch Presidents and CEOs from every state and territory. The following was taken into consideration:

  1. The environments in the UK and US, while sharing some similarities, are not identical to the one in Australia.
  1. It’s vital that information and resources are prepared with consideration of the Australian context.
  1. We have some of the most rigorous infection prevention and control standards in the world.
  1. The Federal Health Minister’s office has confirmed that essential health services including dental will continue to operate as normal. There is no current advice or mandate from the Federal Government, AHPRA, or the Dental Board that suggests dental services should be limited or ceased.
  1. The ADA must continue to dedicate our resources to managing both the wider implications of COVID-19 on dental practices through resources and information, and to ensuring the availability of emergency masks.
  2. While at this time there hasn’t been a requirement set that dental services reduce or cease, practices should consider contingency plans in the event the advice of the Health Department changes.

For now, provided you’re keeping across the advice available on the ADA website (www.ada.org.au/COVID-19) and from the Department of Health, you can continue to practise to our usual high standards.

The ADA team from around the country are collaborating to support the huge number of support requests we’re receiving, while rapidly developing resources and information based on expert advice across infection control, human resources, and finance.
My commitment 

No matter what decisions the Government and the regulators make moving forward, we’re here for you. As the situation evolves, so will our response and advice in this rapidly changing environment.
Availability of masks 

Most of my communications to date have been focused on the availability of masks and what the ADA has been able to achieve on this front. We’re getting very close to having a system that will connect dental practitioners with a small amount of stock that will serve as a safety net for those who are truly on the cusp of running out.

To manage expectations, please be aware that the ADA does not have the entire 54 million stockpile of surgical masks which Government was able to obtain. Nor are they free; Government is selling to dentists at cost price. This includes distribution costs.

As soon as this system is up and running, we’ll be in touch. In the meantime, if you have less than 5 days’ stock in your practice, please contact the ADA offices and we’ll do what we can to help you.

In regards to other PPE and supplies, we encourage you to let us know if you are having difficulty sourcing required PPE or other stock as we are working with suppliers daily.