Dental Act to be amended
PETALING JAYA: After four decades, the country’s Dental Act is set to be amended to ensure patients’ safety and health.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the proposed amendments for the Dental Act 2012 included having registration and regulation of dental therapists and provisions for the registration of dental specialists under a separate specialist division.
He said the new Act also proposed for dental nurses with diploma qualification to register as dental therapists.
They would be able to practise and carry out procedures, such as tooth extraction, in public and private sectors under the supervision of dental surgeons.
It is also proposed that the period of compulsory service for dentists be reduced from three years to two after registration under the new Act.
“Dental therapists will have their own committees to register their members and to regulate the standards of practice,” he said of the Dental Bill 2012, which was targeted to be tabled in the next meeting.
They would also be able to conduct their own disciplinary proceedings and impose punishment on their members.
A dental therapists’ register would also be set up and they would have representation on the Malaysian Dental Council (MDC).
Other new inclusions are to link the continuing professional development points with the renewal of practising certificates and to have a new section for enforcement to strengthen enforcement capability and capacity on the practice of dentistry.
“The amended Dental Act allows for more effective regulation of the practice of dentistry, strengthening of disciplinary procedures on dental practitioners and reviewing fees for registration, applications for practising certificates, qualifying examinations and letters of good standing,” he said.
Liow added that it would also have a review of the penalties for offences against the proposed Act.
It is also proposed a technical committee for recognition of dental programmes to assess programmes for all categories of dental personnel, and recommend them to the MDC for qualification recognition.
A dental evaluation committee would also be proposed to assess recognised qualifications, set the qualifying examination for dental graduates with unrecognised qualifications, determine the requirements for the qualifying examination and determine assessment methods.
There would be a proposal for a dental specialists’ qualifying committee to determine the criteria for registration of dental specialists in the Specialist division of the dental register, determine the standard of proficiency and formulate guidelines on standards of practice.
For enforcement, the proposal provision would include enabling action to be taken against unregistered persons in registered practices and unregistered individuals in unregistered premises.
Previously, the Dental Act 1971 does not allow for enforcement against unregistered dental practitioners practising in registered practices.