A dentist suspended for allegations relating to dishonesty and fraud lose their appeal against the sanction.
In Imani v General Dental Council  EWHC 132 (Admin) (31 January 2024), the dentist appealed a decision of the General Dental Council Professional Conduct Committee (“PCC”) suspending their registration for 12 months.
The allegations concerned the period 2012 – 2018. During that time, they undertook private and National Health Service (“NHS”) dental work from her two dental practices. As part of her NHS contract for each practice, she had a yearly target to submit a certain amount of Units of Dental Activity (“UDAs”).
In summary, the PCC found that the dentist had caused, or permitted, claims to be made for UDAs relating to treatments that had not in fact been provided as claimed. This included claiming for treatments that had not taken place and submitting claims with incorrect premature dates of completion. In total, the PCC found that in 23 instances their conduct was inappropriate and misleading and that in nine of those instances, including all the charges relating to claims with incorrect premature dates of completion, their conduct was dishonest.
In addition, the PCC found that in one instance they had acted dishonestly in failing to offer a patient treatment under the NHS, as opposed to exclusively under a private contract. The PCC also determined that they failed to provide an adequate standard of care in relation to ten patients and that they failed to provide an adequate standard of record keeping in relation to 12 patients.
In turn, the PCC found that the proven allegations amounted to misconduct and that her fitness to practice was impaired by virtue of the proven dishonesty.
1. Admitting, or failing to exclude, multiple hearsay evidence regarding Treatment Acceptance Dates and Treatment Completion Dates;
2. Finding dishonesty proved in relation to the certain allegations;
3. Determining a sanction of suspension for a period of 12 months.
Mrs Justice Heather Williams turned down the appeal, saying:
“I do not consider that the PCC’s decision was wrong, unjust or that it involved any procedural or other irregularity. I have explained why I reject both Ground 1, concerning the Committee’s decision to admit the hearsay evidence in Schedule C, and Ground 2, relating to the dishonesty allegations that were found proved. In the circumstances, Ground 3, regarding the sanction imposed, does not arise. This was a careful and detailed decision; charges were considered individually, the evidence in respect of each was evaluated and the PCC’s reasoning was clear and thorough.”
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