0124 Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists' Association

General information

Submitterʼs name
Australian Dental and Oral Health Therapists' Association
Submitted on behalf of
Professional body or industry association

About the submission

Are you an Australian assessing authority for migration purposes?
No
Please select the industry your submission is in relation to. If required, you may select multiple industries.
Health Care and Social Assistance
Do you have a particular regional interest? If required, you may select multiple regions.
National
Regional / Rural

Responses

1. Do you consider that occupations need to be added to or removed from the Medium and Long-term Strategic Skills List (MLTSSL)?

No

2. Do you consider that occupations need to be added to or removed from the Short Term Skilled Occupation List (STSOL)?

Added to STSOL

What occupations should be added to the Short Term Skilled Occupation Lists (STSOL)?

411211 Dental Hygienist
411214 Dental Therapist

Please outline the evidence or data that would support these occupations being added to the STSOL.

Over the past several years, the ADOHTA made submissions to government departments identifying the issue that the occupation 'oral health therapist' does not have a designated ANZSCO occupation code. Oral health therapists are registered dental practitioners, are dual-qualified as a dental hygienist and a dental therapist with a 3-year tertiary bachelor education degree meeting Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) Level 6. By comparison, a dental therapist and dental hygienist is a 2-year diploma qualification (AQF5). Two recently approved courses over the last 5 years have also been established by the University of Melbourne and the University of Adelaide for dental therapists and oral health therapists to expand their skills via a Graduate Certificate pathway (AQF8). There are no longer single stream dental therapist course programs, and only one dental hygienist course continues to be delivered (TAFE SA).
With the current limitations on poorly available data linking supply and demand for oral health therapists, including the recent ABS census survey, it clear that the department needs to consult with the ADOHTA to fully understand the labour market of oral health therapists. In the interim, the ADOHTA recommends the occupation for dental therapist and dental hygienist be moved into the STSOL. Currently, under the National Law of health profession regulation, AHPRA, oral health therapists cannot use the title of dental therapist or dental hygienist. This is an additional impediment to understanding the labour market of oral health therapists.
Oral health therapists are dental practitioners who provide routine dental services including check-ups, x-rays, fillings, removal of teeth, teeth cleaning and fluoride treatment. Many are also involved in clinical education and academic research. Despite these services being integral to the healthcare system, the dental labour workforce shows oral health therapists are significantly lower in numbers per 100,000 population, in comparison to dentists, but are more geographically evenly distributed and have the same employment rates than dentists.
Based on our submission, oral health therapists meet the department's interest because it identifies:
1) regional variations in needs for oral health therapists
2) oral health therapists are 'highly' qualified dental practitioners
3) are highly experienced dental practitioners requiring less than 10 years' experience, and
4) there are clear gaps in the labour market

3. Do you consider that occupations need to be added to or removed from the Regional Occupation List (ROL)?

No
Do you have any supporting material for your submission?
Yes (see attachments)

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Last modified on Monday 1 April 2019 [45306|135116]