06 August 2020

Urgent dental care mandated

All dental practices in metropolitan Melbourne must only provide urgent care.

The Victorian Government released new information overnight regarding their new workplace restrictions. For the purposes of the Restricted Activity Directions (Restricted Area) (No 6), effective as at 5 August 2020 from 11.59pm, all public and private health services including dentists for urgent care are permitted workplaces. Therefore, all dental practices in metropolitan Melbourne can operate as a permitted workplace but must only provide urgent care. These directives are issued in accordance with emergency powers arising from declared state of emergency pursuant to the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic). This direction is mandatory – dentists practising in metropolitan Melbourne must practice according to Level 3 dental restrictions in order to comply with this direction. It is important that workplaces that continue to operate comply with the requirements of the workplace directives issued by the Victorian Government. The directive to reduce work across multiple sites does not apply to health care workers, and dental staff can continue to operate across multiple sites or practices.

This information was released after the ADAVB recommended level 3 restrictions from 7 August for dentists in Metropolitan Melbourne following ongoing extensive consultation with the Victorian Chief Health Officer, the Health Minister, the ADA Infection Control Committee, DHHS and DHSV and advice from the Dental Board of Australia.

We understand that this new advice has created uncertainty for dentists today. We were not formally advised of these changes by DHHS until 7.30am this morning, and we share your frustration and disappointment at the confusing messages. We were not advised that this requirement for urgent care would be included in the directives for dentistry.