Dental Services

Dental services

Our Experience

HDAA Experience with Assessing Dental Services

The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (ACSQHC) has granted approval to HDAA to assess health service organisations using the National Safety and Quality In Health Care Services Standards (NSQHSS) for Dental Practices.

HDAA will work with your dental practice towards your goal of accreditation to the National Safety and Quality in Health Service Standards.

The introduction of the National Safety and Quality Health Service (NSQHS) Standards and reforms under the Australian Health Service Safety and Quality Accreditation (AHSSQA) Scheme have implications for dental services nationally, as they commence participation in third party accreditation processes, many for the first time.

Program Details

What is the NSQHSS?

The NSQHS Standards were approved by Australian Health Ministers in September 2011. The 10 NSQHS Standards provide a nationally consistent statement about the level of care consumers can expect, with Standards 1-6 being applicable to dental practices.

The full 10 standards of the NSQHSS address the following areas:
1. Governance for Safety and Quality in Health Service Organisations
2. Partnering with Consumers
3. Preventing and Controlling Healthcare Associated Infections
4. Medication Safety
5. Patient Identification and Procedure Matching
6. Clinical Handover
7. Blood and Blood Products
8. Preventing and Managing Pressure Injuries
9. Recognising and Responding to Clinical Deterioration in Acute Health Care
10. Preventing Falls and Harm from Fall


Under the new accreditation model, state and territory health departments (as Regulators) have agreed that public dental clinics and oral health services need to be accredited to the NSQHS Standards.
This means these services will be assessed to NSQHS Standards 1-6 at the scheduled time of their next re-certification assessment or organisational-wide accreditation visit. Standards 7-10 do not directly relate to care provided in dental services and are therefore not required for accreditation.
For a mid-cycle assessment, periodic review or surveillance assessments, public dental clinics will only need to be assessed against:

  • Standards 1, 2 and 3
  • The organisational quality improvement plan
  • Recommendations from previous accreditation assessments.


For private dental practices, the accreditation process is a voluntary, self-regulated scheme. The Commission has released a Guide for Dental Practices (Version 3, Nov 2015) to support practices prepare for and undertake assessment.
There are a number of advantages to being accredited to the NSQHS Standards, including but not exclusively:

  • Acknowledgement for high standards of care already in place and / or improvements made in the services provided.
  • Ability to demonstrate to your patients / clients that you have achieved higher clinical standards.
  • Being awarded an Accreditation Certificate specifying the award gained and period of accreditation. This you will be able to display in your practice along with certain written and marketing materials.
  • Ability to gain more customers.
  • Ability to compete more competitively with other dental practices.
  • Gaining experience and preparation for when the NSQHS Standards become mandatory for private dentists.

We welcome the opportunity to meet with you and discuss how HDAA can assist your service with assessment to the NSQHSS.

Assessment Preparation

Preparing for your NSQHSS assessment

Contact us by email or phone 1800 601 696 to discuss your service’s individual needs, relevant transition details and to identify a suitable date with sufficient lead time to feel comfortable and prepare for your service’s transition.

To support your assessment planning, HDAA will provide you with clear information and guidance in regard to the evidence requirements, clarification of the specific time frames to meet your assessment cycle needs and an easy to use, comprehensive self-assessment document and improvement action plan system.

The Key Features of Assessment for Certification

An Assessment for Certification involves two key steps:

Stage 1 – a self-assessment and document review of your quality management system by a HDAA Assessor. A report of the findings of Stage 1 is provided to assist you prepare for Stage 2.

Stage 2 – a visit to your Head Office and to a sample of your sites/locations, meeting with people who use your services, volunteers, staff, management and Board.

Throughout the Assessment we work together with you to provide:

  • Access to HDAA’s Program Support team to clarify the requirements of the standards and discuss the assessment or other relevant matters;
  • A fully participatory and inclusive approach by our Assessment Teams;
  • Experienced and skilled Assessors who have worked with these standards and other human services assessment programs;
  • Assessors with relevant disability and child safety services expertise.
Assessment Details

What an assessment involves

Key Features of Assessment for initial certification

  • Pre-visit co-ordination;
  • Pre-review of documentation by Assessment Team;
  • Visit by the Assessor/s;
  • Post-assessment report development;
  • Quality review of assessment reports by an independent Principle Assessor;
  • Draft assessment report provided for your feedback;
  • Certification panel decision making;
  • Final assessment report forwarded to you and the Department of Communities.

Our aim is for your assessment report to provide a blueprint for your ongoing continuous improvement plan. Remember your Assessor is available to discuss your assessment and answer any questions you may have at each step in the process.

Maintenance review (Surveillance Assessment)

Maintenance Review involves working with you to assess your ongoing implementation of the Standards and to determine your progress with your improvement plan. It provides you with assurance on how you are progressing against the standards and your previous Assessment and occurs at the midpoint of the certificate cycle, 24 months from your Certification (or re-certification) assessment.

The maintenance assessment includes on-site visits and, at a minimum, ensures:

  • That previously identified corrective actions are closed out, as stated in the improvement plan;
  • That management review, monitoring and internal assessment processes are functioning effectively;
  • The effective interaction between all elements of the quality management system;
  • That overall system effectiveness and integrity is maintained in the light of changes in operations;
  • That there is demonstrated commitment to maintaining the effectiveness of the system;
  • That there is consultation with service users.

The maintenance assessment usually involves:

  • Pre-visit co-ordination;
  • A review of your service in relation to a sample of standards and the previous Assessment for Certification (or Re-certification);
  • Discussions with staff;
  • Discussion with you on any improvements;
  • Provision of a full Maintenance Assessment Report.

Re-certification Assessment

Certification is for a period of three years from the date the Certificate decision is made following the on-site Assessment for Certification visit. Re-certification is required to maintain certification. The re-certification process is assessment to a selection of the standards. The Re-certification assessment will be similar to Stage 2 of an Assessment for Certification.



The Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care website has numerous resources and detail related to accreditation for dental practices.

Guide for Dental Practices (Version 3, Nov 2015)

Looking for a Certified Provider?

Service providers Certified by HDAA at this link.