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New law for dental assistants met with mixed reaction

The new legislation requires dental assistants to obtain a qualification & register with the HPCSA.

FILE. Organisations, like the South African Dental Association, are unhappy with the changes, which could see dentists who hire unqualified assistants facing legal action. Picture: sxc.hu.

JOHANNESBURG - The Health Professions Council of South Africa (HPCSA) says it doesn't understand why there's opposition to attempt to formalise the careers of dental assistants.

A new legislation that will be introduced next month, requires assistants to obtain a qualification and register with the body.

Organisations, like the South African Dental Association, are unhappy with the changes, which could see dentists who hire unqualified assistants facing legal action.

Assistants who have not completed the process by next month will be forced to leave their jobs.

The HPCSA's Doctor Kgosi Letlape says it was dental assistants themselves who asked for the formalisation of their profession.

"Part of the problem that we do not understand is why dentists would obstruct having their assistants being professionalised, so that they can get capable people, but meet a standard. But also so these people can have the pride of having this profession."

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