According to AHPRA: “The National Boards expect all healthcare practitioners to facilitate access to care regardless of someone’s vaccination status.”
Practices have an obligation to provide a safe workplace. A risk-based approach to practice is required to protect patients, staff and you, the practitioner.
You must be undertaking a thorough pre-appointment COVID screening. In addition, as part of your overall risk assessment, you may wish to consider some of the following:
- A tele-dentistry consultation (if applicable)
- Pre-treatment rapid antigen testing
- Full PPE for dentist and assistant, as per ‘High Risk of Transmission’.
- Depending on the size of the practice, providing a dedicated surgery for unvaccinated patients.
- Arranging dedicated appointment times for unvaccinated patients.
If all risk-based steps are insufficient and there are no other reasonable options in your practice to protect patients, staff and you, then as a last resort, politely explain your practice situation and facilitate a referral to a practice willing to treat your patient.
If you are contemplating a policy to exclude unvaccinated patients from your practice, be very aware you could be open to accusations of direct or indirect discrimination. You should seek professional legal advice or contact ADAWA before you instigate such a policy.