It is my pleasure as chair of New Zealand Dental and Oral Health Therapists Association (NZDOHTA) to provide a comment to the recent outcome of the follow-up consultation on the proposed oral health therapy scope of practice. Firstly, I must congratulate the Council and everyone that provided submissions to the consultation. The creation of the oral health therapy scope of practice has been long overdue and now provides the dual graduate clinicians to have a sense of identity that reflects their training.
Moreover, NZDOHTA and the New Zealand Dental Hygienists Association have also progressed talks to merge the two organisations. The 2017 Annual Conference between NZDOHTA and NZDHA will be the first step towards a unified organisation.
While NZDOHTA is pleased with the outcomes of the submission, it is still concerning to note that restorative scopes for practice on over 18s was not agreed upon.
NZDOHTA will continue to work with the two education providers to strongly advocate for a recognised qualification leading to our dental and oral health therapist being able to provide restorative treatment to over 18-year-olds.
Mid-level dental providers have been proven successful internationally and would be the solution to providing care to low income earners in New Zealand.
Finally, I would urge our dental and oral health therapists to continue to maintain their high standards of practice, engage in continuous professional development activities and most of all provide the best care possible to our clientele.
Arish Naresh Chairperson New Zealand Dental & Oral Health Therapists Association