THE PARKER REPORT – THE DECIMATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN DENTAL PROFESSION 2013 – 2014
Here is a copy of a report I wrote and sent to a huge number of prominent and important people around Australia. They include all senior and relevant federal and state ministers and opposition members as well as the Greens, Clive Palmer, and Independents etc; all Justices (meaning the full bench) of the High Court of Australia; all chief Justices of all state and territory supreme courts; Her Excellency the Governor General and all state Governors; 36 radio stations and hosts around Australia such as Alan Jones and all the biggest and best ‘names’; 8 television programs such as Four Corners and 60 Minutes etc; all the major newspapers in all states and territories (and don’t forget they own all the smaller ones too); and also other prominent and respected people such as Justice Michael Kirby, Mr Julian Burnside QC, and Mr Dick Smith.
The title tells it all – dentists are fast becoming a disgrace and you’ll read why that is and how the silence of the ADA holds by far the most responsibility for it.
THE PARKER REPORT. AN INVESTIGATION INTO THE DECIMATION AND DESTRUCTION OF THE AUSTRALIAN DENTAL PROFESSION – 2013
Prime Minister –The Hon Tony Abbott MP
Dear Prime Minister,
I send you this presentation in a last desperate bid to bring to the attention of the Australian parliament, the Australian media, and the Australian public, the decimation and destruction of the Australian dental profession. As you’re aware, this issue is highlighted by NIB’s recent decision to send Australian dental patients to offshore health providers, and the resulting national furore this decision has caused. This document does not represent a mere complaint by a few disgruntled dental people – it is a long-considered and carefully thought out and researched investigation and explanation into the real life, but carefully obscured workings of the dental profession in Australia. I write as one person, but I speak for many honest, ethical and decent people (dentists and others) inside the dental profession who also know the truth about the degradation and destruction of the Australian dental profession, and who want to have their voices heard…before it is too late.
It has been reported (by the ABC and other media outlets) that there are serious issues inside the dental industry. It is no secret that generations of Australians have missed out on adequate dental care; that dentists are widely feared and broadly distrusted throughout all levels of Australian society; that only 40% of Australian adults voluntarily seek regular, or semi-regular dental care (according to surveys taken by dentists) and that number is steadily declining; that ‘dental tourism’ (Australian people heading offshore for dental treatment) is rapidly expanding; and that the general public perception of the dental industry is about as low as it can get.
It’s time to tell you why this has come about; who is responsible; how they maintain their position; why they refuse to do anything about it for the best interests of the Australian people; and what can be done to rectify this appalling situation. Prime Minister, you have a long and proven history of bringing important and vital public interest issues to the public fore. I, and those good people (including dentists and other dental professionals who have assisted me) sincerely hope that you will see, and understand this issue for what it has truly become–a national tragedy and a national scandal – the likes of which have never before been revealed in Australian
The following pages clearly detail this scandal, and many other secrets lurking inside the dental profession that have resulted in substantial damage to the public’s dental health, financial health, and also to the public’s confidence in dentists and the dental profession in general. Dentistry continues to be on the government agenda; however, reform must be done in a way that is in the public’s best interest – not the dentist’s best interests as it is currently planned, and it has come to the time that only you can do what no one else has ever had the courage, or strength, to do.
That being – stand up, speak out, and protect the public from those who seek to deceive the public in order to unfairly and unjustly profiteer. This IS happening now in Australian dentistry, and is the primary reason why Australians generally hate, and fear, dentists.
The Australian Dental Association Inc. (ADA)
Further, the ADA considers itself to be the ‘Public Protector’ in all matters dental. That is, they expect the public to trust them to act in the public’s best interests. This too is blatantly false, and exposes their previously mentioned, yet unseen, conflict of interest. Any conflict of interest – where powerful organisations secretly favour one minority group over the majority – is completely unacceptable and untenable in Australian society, especially where the public interest AND public health and safety is concerned. And this issue is only made worse because all voting members of the ADA and the executive are titled ‘doctor’.
1 -Tooth Whitening
Obviously, many people would not go ahead with that expensive procedure if they were informed of the Poisons Standard, and if they were informed of the potential health dangers of H202 prior to agreeing to that procedure. Further, there is no requirement within the laws of Informed Consent for any dentist to warn their patients about H202. Why? Because it is not in the dentists’ best interests to do so. This makes a mockery of Informed Consent because it is not protecting the public- it only protects the dentist.
The scientific fact is, any level of oxide from hydrogen peroxide that enters the blood stream is potentially extremely dangerous to systemic (overall) body health, and the public has a right to be informed of these dangers before they agree to it being introduced into their body. The result…. the ADA is negligent in their duty of care to the public – especially in light of their stance placing themselves to be the ‘Public Protector’.
The ADA’s conflict of interest placing the dentists’ interests to sell the procedure ahead of the public health and safety interest is inarguable and irrefutable.
2 – Offshore Dental Work (Outsourcing)
Very few dentists, if any, lower their fees for their Australian patients when the dentist buys offshore dental work because their patients are, yet again, not informed prior that this is happening, nor does the dentist offer the patient a choice. Australian public is paying some of, if not the most expensive dentistry in the world while, unknowingly, often receiving the cheapest, and potentially most dangerous dental work. I, along with others in dentistry, have irrefutable proof of this, and we all are most willing to pass this proof to you.
A quick example – Australian dentists generally charge from $1,500 to $3,300 (the most expensive I am aware of) per crown, yet I have 2013 price lists (from Chinese laboratories) proving Australian dentists can buy the crown directly from China for $25 or even less. Again, we have irrefutable proof.
This brings us back to the current situation regarding NIB’s recent decision to send patients offshore, thus saving NIB a lot of money. This time, unsurprisingly, the ADA has been publicly very vocal in their condemnation of NIB, saying we should all BUY AUSTRALIAN MADE due to our superior quality and in fear of inferior quality from offshore; yet, the ADA remains steadfastly silent when many of their own dentist members send their dental work offshore without their patients’ prior knowledge or agreement.
This issue of the ADA’s silence becomes even more pertinent by the fact that Medibank Health Solutions – an Australian Government Business Enterprise that manages all of the Australian Defence Forces medical and dental needs – also now outsources some or all of their dental work. It is a shameful condemnation that the defence department of Australia, who should be giving the very best to those who give their very best to us, allows and/or condones Medibank Health Solutions to provide offshore dental work that is often of questionable and dubious quality.
Again, why has the ADA remained silent and why have not openly and publicly supported the provision of the best quality dentistry to all Australians, including those serving in the military?
3 – The Confusion Caused by Dental Laboratory Names
It is known that some Australian dentists use this confusion to actively lie, or get their reception staff to lie on their behalf, by claiming to their patients that they send the work to a genuine Australian laboratory –and this has happened to me (and others, including patients) upon my query as to where their patient’s work was done.
There are many Australian dentists who will claim they do not, or did not, know of this, and genuinely thought that all their work had always been made in Australia. This clearly reveals that a nation-wide state of confusion does, in fact, exist. It is clearly not in the best interests of the Australian public when there are so many dentists (i.e., doctors) who do not, or did not know for certain where their patients’ work was actually being made, or who was making it. All dentists hold total responsibility for everything placed into their patients’ mouths, yet very few will claim to know that their patient’s work was done offshore.
This confusion raises very serious questions as to the honesty, propriety and legality of the continued advertising, marketing and promotion done by SCDL Australia-wide. This is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that the ACCC, in March 2012 and after receiving complaints, recommended that SCDL remove their “Australian Made” representations and refer only to its Sydney laboratory. Approximately eighteen months ago SCDL was partially sold for a whopping $100,000,000.00 (one hundred million dollars) to a private equity firm, and that figure represents an inordinate amount of work previously done by SCDL for Australian dentists in Shenzhen over the last twenty or so years. SCDL remains very active, widely promoting their name and their Sydney-based lab, therefore potentially inferring that their dental work is now done in Sydney.
This raises yet another serious question in regard to how is it possible for only one or two technicians in Sydney to possibly do the enormous quantity of work continuing to be sent to SCDL by many thousands of dentists (and some universities, and also the military) from around Australia – thus making the Private Equity firm’s hundred million dollar investment viable into the future?
The fact is, they cannot; it is simply not humanly possible for one or two technicians in Sydney to complete that massive quantity of work. Therefore, in the public’s best interests, a FULL AND COMPREHENSIVE INQUIRY must now be conducted into all the operations of SCDL – including their advertising, marketing and promotion of SCDL Australia-wide. The entire Australian dental profession, including the ADA, knows about laboratories such as SCDL – yet the ADA continues to remain silent and has failed to inform the public of the confusion surrounding the manufacture of dental work done by SCDL, and other such labs.
And this situation is made even worse by the fact that genuine Australian dental laboratories (where ALL work is done in Australia by Australian technicians) are now completely worthless and are dismissing Australian staff and closing their doors in record numbers due to the tsunami of off shore dental work – all while only a part of SCDL is worth $100,000,000.00.
The ADA’s public stance of claiming that NIB’s decision is not in the best interests of the public due to health, safety and quality issues – while failing to publicly reveal the fact that many of their own dentist members are doing the exact same thing (sending work offshore) – stinks of hypocrisy. And what is worse is all those on the ADA executive are titled ‘Doctor’ – a title that automatically infers truth, honesty and unimpeachable integrity. If that is true, why don’t they swear the Hippocratic Oath (based on ‘Do No Harm’) like other medical practitioners? This is yet another hidden hypocrisy surrounding Australian dentists that the ADA has failed to mention and the public are unaware of….but should now be made aware.
The issue here is not globalization, because no one seems to be able to stop that. The issue is that many Australian dentists are outsourcing their work secretly, without informing the patient or labelling the returned product, or perhaps even knowing where that work is made. In society, generally, companies buy and clearly label offshore-manufactured products so the consumer has a choice of the nature, quality and price they pay for their purchases. However, this is not occurring in Australian dentistry. Dentists continue to charge the extremely high Australian fee, but fail to disclose the country of origin of the dental work – or offer their patients any discount at all on their fees for those very cheap imports.
Again, where is the ADA? Why aren’t they informing, and/or warning the public about this immensely contentious and nationally destructive issue, and therefore protecting the public from these obscene rip offs? I reiterate: it is because many (but not all) of their dentist members who are the culprits continuing to send dental work offshore so that they can profiteer from it. This is one reason why the ABS (Australian Bureau of Statistics) has oft published their survey results showing dentists are the highest earning group in Australia – well above medical doctors, lawyers and vets. It’s due to the hidden and sly nature of dental work purchased offshore by dentists, and the silent conflict of interest held by the ADA who protects their dentist members so they can continue to profiteer so immensely at the expense of the uninformed public.
4 – Breaches of the ADAQ (Australian Dental Association Queensland) ‘Principles of Ethics’ and ‘Codes of Conduct’.
The fact is that offshore work is not guaranteed to meet Australian health and safety standards – therefore potentially endangering every patient who receives that work (subsection 2.1). Further, dentists who send dental work off shore without informing the patient beforehand are in clear breach of subsection 2.7 regarding Informed Consent. The ADAQ ‘Principles of Ethical Dental Practice’ is derived from the Australian Dental Board’s Code of Practice and the ADA may publish these codes for their members, but they have consistently failed to enforce them because they place their dentist members’ interests ahead of the public’s interest.
5 – Product Labelling
All dentists must be forced to fully comply with the labelling laws in the best interest of public health and safety. There is a known and proven case of lead poisoning that occurred due to unsafe and non-compliant materials used in dental work made in China – yet the ADA has routinely failed to inform, or warn, the public.
6 – Dental Fraud: Pontics
Here is the fraud.
Dentists routinely charge their patients the same fee ($1,500 to $3,300 per tooth) for all teeth on a dental bridge – including the pontic (or pontics) – yet they only actually work on the ‘pylon’ teeth. In other words, they work on two teeth, but charge the full fee for three teeth (or more). Because there is no clinical work at all involved in preparation for the pontic, there are, apart from the laboratory fee (which may only be $25 per tooth if bought from China), absolutely no other costs incurred by the dentist. There is no additional work or time spent in preparing the pontic site, no additional materials used, and no additional time spent by the dentist or by the dentist’s staff.
The result – dentists are charging the patient for time they do not spend with the patient – and the patient is completely unaware. The ADAQ Tier 2, Codes of Conduct 1, section 1, subsection i (Representation of Fees) (i), states that, ‘Dentists must not represent the fees being charged for providing care in a false or misleading manner’. In my opinion, it is clear that dentists who charge for pontics in the manner described here are in breach of this section of the Codes of Conduct.
To me, it is cheating…..it is fraud……and, in the best interests of the public, it must not be allowed to continue.
7 – Dentists Advertising
Further, the law clearly states that a dentist must not make false promises, such as claiming that they can give a patient ‘the Perfect smile’. False advertising images, and promises of this nature, are used (by some) dentists to attract new patients, yet the patients are not informed of the false nature of that advertising – nor are they informed that there is no way that their new teeth will actually look like the manipulate images, or promises, that attracted that patient to that dentist. This means, the dentist attracted that patient (or patients) on a false premise. In other words, dentists (who all use the title ‘Doctor’) who advertise in this manner are misleading
Again I ask – why is the ADA remaining silent on this issue? Of course, you know the answer – it’s not in the best interests of their dentist members to insist to them that this unlawful practise be ceased.
8 – The ‘Name’ Australian Dental Association
The ADA issues the ‘ADA Seal Of Approval’. The Seal Of Approval is used by some product manufactures (such as Colgate and others) to advertise, on certain products, that that product is, allegedly, special or better than other competing products – and thus is ‘approved’ or ‘recommended’ by the ADA. The Seal itself is printed on the outside of the product package, and is overwhelmingly dominated by the letters ‘ADA’…with the words ‘Seal Of Approval’ written in much smaller and harder to read letters below.
It is no secret, and has been openly acknowledged by the ADA, that products with the Seal sell more than those without the Seal. That is the sole reason some companies buy, and advertise, the Seal of Approval – to increase sales, and thus profits – therefore setting the precedent turning the words Australian Dental Association into an advertisement, no longer remaining merely a ‘name’.
As you know, the letters ADA means Australian Dental Association – but, as you also now know, the ADA does not represent the entire dental profession -it only represents dentists – a fraction of the dental profession. Therefore, the ADA’s claim, and name, of representing the dental profession is ‘false, deceptive and misleading’ under Australian law.
It is false because the ADA does not represent the profession, only dentists. It is deceptive because the ADA fails to inform, thus deceives, the public of this fact. And it is misleading because it fails to inform the public as to who are the others that comprise the full and complete Australian dental profession – most of whom the ADA does not represent, and even refuses to recognise as part of the Australian dental
Yet the ADA has failed to reveal these facts to the federal parliament, the media, and the public.
9 – Part I. Fee Quoting – Discrimination against Solicitors
However, solicitors are discriminated against by the fact that dentists do not have to reveal their hourly fee…they only quote for a service without disclosing a fee per hour. The result is complete non-transparency that has lead to many dentists profiteering nd price gouging. This is not in the publics’ best interests. It is very apparent that dentists, due to this difference, are discriminating against solicitors – and surely that discrimination must be unlawful.
If the ADA’s inference that they are the ‘Public Protector’ in all matters dental is true, then all Australian dentists must be forced to follow the same rules as solicitors – because it is in public’s best interests. Of course, the ADA has failed to act on this matter too – because it is not in their dentist members’ best interests to do so.
Part II. ADA – Discrimination against the Dental Profession
Further, ADA dentist members (in Australia) pay less for their workers compensation insurance than others in the profession, even though dentists often face greater risk than others – such as ‘needle stick’ and cross contamination. Again, the ADA has not revealed discounts dentists receive to those others in the profession – nor have they included those others such that they too receive those benefits that their dentist members already receive. The ADA purports to represent the dental profession, but fails to act as they claim.
That is discriminatory, and any and all discrimination is illegal under Australian law.
10 – Breach of Copyright Law
Yet dentists rarely mention the technician on any part of their website (such as ‘Our team’) – nor do they acknowledge, or give credit to the technician (that is, the artist) who made the tooth (or teeth) shown on the dentists’ website. On the contrary, virtually all dentists infer that the work shown on their website is ‘their work’…without acknowledging that it is not, nor informing the patient that it is not. Even worse, often the technician who made the work isn’t asked permission, or even informed, by the dentist prior that he intends to put that technician’s work on public display.
These issues are blatant breaches of artists’ copyright.
Yet again, the ADA has remained silent and has continually failed to instruct, and/or insist to their dentist members that they obey copyright law. The ADA remains silent because it is not in their members best interests to do so. Again, the conflict of interest held by the ADA is obvious.
11 – National Deregistration of Dental Technicians
Why did the politicians change their mind, considering it was them who introduced registration in the first place, and that was done specifically in the best interest of the health and safety of the public? Who was it the-then government turned to for advice? The ADA was the driving force behind technicians’ national deregistration, and, even though it was very much against the wishes of Australian dental technicians, the ADA was successful and now dental technicians’ registration around Australia has disappeared.
This means that there is now no compulsory technical education, qualification, accreditation or registration for dental technicians in Australia!! NONE!! Anybody from anywhere, even with no technical dental knowledge, skills or experience at all, has the legal right to practice technical dentistry in Australia and for the Australian people without any acceptable, and enforceable, minimum standards of quality and/or care for the patient.
Again, this is not in the nation’s or public’s best interests, but it is very much in the dentists’ best interests – and it has opened the door to the tsunami of offshore and often substandard dental work secretly being placed into the mouths of Australian people. Of course, and again, the ADA remains silent and has never brought this to the attention of the parliament, media or the public.
12 – University Dental Education
However, Australian universities cannot be classed as simply for-profit corporations, and therefore they should not act in the same manner as for-profit corporations. Universities represent the very pinnacle of Australian education – and are assumed, in fact expected, to provide the very pinnacle of health care to their patients (where appropriate faculties exist). Comprehensive tertiary education and training of Australians is widely known, and accepted as indisputable, to be one of the most important functions for Australia to continue to grow and prosper as a First World Nation.
Therefore, very serious questions arise now that two university dental schools in Queensland (University of Queensland and James Cook University), and one in Sydney (Sydney University), have reduced, or even closed, their dental labs; dismissed some and/or all of their Australian trained and educated dental technicians, and now send most, or even all, their patients’ dental work offshore – without the patient’s prior knowledge, consent or choice.
Dentists (i.e., ‘doctors’) manage all university dental schools – and they do so, supposedly, in the best interests of their students, and of their patients. Offshore dental work has never been claimed by anyone (dentist or other) to be better quality than Australian made (clearly expressed by the ADA in regard to the NIB furore) – the only question asked about the quality of offshore work is ‘how bad is it?’
Therefore, it is clearly not in the best educational interests of dental students, nor is it in the best health and safety interests of university dental patients’ to have their dental work made offshore.
This now raises even more serious questions, such as – how can any ‘doctor’ permit this to happen to students under his/her supervision, and patients under his/her care? Also, precisely who proposed the switch from AUSTRALIAN MADE to offshore, and why? Also, who ultimately authorised the switch to happen, and why? Also, which offshore laboratory (or laboratories) is/are the beneficiary/s, and why was that/those particular lab/labs chosen? Also, in consideration of the fact that ‘rewards’ are offered by some offshore labs to dentist clients, it must be asked in whose interest was the switch made – the university, the students, the patients, or perhaps one or two individuals who began and/or oversaw the process? Imagine this scenario: if we have all our dental work done in China (and this situation is getting closer and closer every day), and we go to war with China…who on earth will be here to treat our dental casualties?
Therefore, in the public’s best interests (and also the students, who are our future dentists) – a FULL AND COMPREHENSIVE ENQUIRY must now be conducted into the actions of these three university dental schools, and into all the people involved in their lab/s switching from Australian made to offshore-made.
I ask again – where is the federal ADA? And, in this instance, where is the ADAQ? Why are they both remaining silent, and why has neither loudly and publicly supported both the dental students’ education and the publics’ best dental health and safety? Is there an unseen and/or undisclosed connection between these universities and the past or present ADA and/or ADAQ executive? Or, do both these associations remain silent because the dentists who are, or were, involved are members of the ADA and the ADAQ?
13 – Public Dental Health System – Constraint of Trade
The Canadian Parliament sensibly and correctly realised and accepted the Constraint of Trade issues raised by the Hygienists, and acted accordingly. That was approximately three to four years ago. Now, Canada has one of the most advanced, cost effective, and easily accessible front line Oral Health Care systems in the world and soon the UK will get the same. But Australia won’t – because no one knows about it due to the continuing silence of the ADA that places their dentist members’ interests ahead of the public interests. The ADA is now petitioning their dentist members in a forlorn effort to prevent the modernisation of Australian dentistry dentists in favour of their own members financial opportunities.
14 – ADA and Corporate Alliances
The ADA has an alliance with the Wrigley Company, saying that they (the ADA) support the ‘chewing of sugar-free gum’. In return, the Wrigley Company offered a study grant to one dental student, but that student must first be a member of the ADA to qualify for that grant. The ADA has failed to publicly reveal that money is given for the benefit of only one student member in return for the ADA promoting the ‘chewing of sugar-free gum’ to the entire nation.
In addition, by this agreement, the ADA is publicly supporting the notion that chewing Wrigley’s sugar-free gum may be more beneficial to the public than chewing a competing company’s sugar-free gum. The fact is, chewing any sugar- free gum is no better for you than chewing any of the many other forms of rubber, such as a rubber band, (chewing gum is in the same chemical family as rubber), or chewing a sugarfree twig, or chewing a piece of sugar-free cloth, or your finger nails…or chewing virtually anything else that is sugar free. Yet again, the ADA has failed to publicly mention this important public health fact while accepting the undisclosed Wrigley study grant.
While it may be in the ADA’s best interest to offer one student a Wrigley- provided study grant, it is not in the public’s best interests to be told by the ADA that Wrigley’s is the ADA’s preferred gum – or that the chewing of gum is specifically more beneficial than chewing just about anything else.
Further, the ADA has failed to publicly reveal, or warn the public, that the constant chewing of any gum may have harmful side effects – that being the potential of developing peptic ulcers (stomach ulcers) due to the over-supply of stomach acid (Hydrochloric acid) produced while chewing.
It must be noted that this has occurred not by what the ADA has said and done – but by what the ADA has not said and has not done. It can well be considered to be a form of ‘conspiracy by silence’ – because they need not say or do anything when they are not asked.
NOW IS THE TIME TO ASK!
Therefore, A FULL JUDICIAL INQUIRY MUST BE CONDUCTED into all the workings and actions of the Australian Dental Association – and the ADA cannot continue to exist and must be deregistered. The issues raised here are the reasons why the Australian dental profession, and the public confidence in it, is at an all-time low, and just getting worse. And it is all due to the continuing existence of the ADA and its silent conflict of interest of placing their dentist members’ interests ahead of the
Once the ADA is deregistered and permanently out of the way, Australia will create a new, fair and equitable governing dental body that I name DENTISTRY AUSTRALIA (DA). DA will represent all the people employed in dentistry equally and fairly. The DA executive board will comprise of elected representatives from all associations currently existing inside the dental profession so that everyone working in the Australian dental profession has an equal right to have their voices heard, unlike the current failed and flawed farce that currently exists where only dentists’ voices are heard.
THAT is the reason why dentists are so widely feared and hated, and why dentistry is failing so rapidly under the current discriminatory system. DA will, naturally, have an umbilical to government, and also open the door for public contribution from recognised and respected public health forums. After all, this is for, and all about, the publics’ best interests.
Above all and most importantly – DA will not follow the ADA’s established role of “acting in the members’ best interests”… because DA’s new constitution will not allow it. The new DA constitution must be centred on the public’s best interest.
Further, all associations, groups and individuals that fall under the umbrella of, and are members of, DA (and membership must be compulsory for license to practice in dentistry) must adhere to the principle that THE PUBLIC INTEREST IS PARAMOUNT, AND MUST ALWAYS COME FIRST.
In addition, there are some dentists that are members of the ADA, and who have tried to stand up and speak in opposition to the long-held philosophy of the ADA and its executive boards, but whom have been subjected to inferred threats and intimidation from the ADA, frightening those dentists into silence. Fear is an unacceptable and abusive weapon, but it is strong evidence of the actions of the ADA.
Also, I can supply you with all the proof you need in relation to all the points raised here. I can also provide you with people (patients) who are ready, willing and able to speak with you about the lies and deceit told to them by their dentists, and the destructive dental experiences that have resulted from those lies.
All the decent, ethical and honest professionals inside Australian dentistry – including Dr. John Clark (dentist) and Mr. Paul Hade (dental technician) who have been instrumental in assisting me compile this report – look forward to your reply.