First published on the Brett Wilson Crime, Fraud and Regulatory Law Blog on 31 August 2016
The General Dental Council’s (‘GDC’) Professional Conduct Committee has struck off dentist Desmond D’Mello after finding against him on 55 allegations of malpractice. Mr D’Mello ran the Daybrook Dental Practice in Gelding, Nottinghamshire, and was reported in June 2014 by a whistleblower for poor levels of cleanliness and lack of hygiene.
Secret footage was taken of the practice exposing, amongst other things, Mr D’Mello not changing gloves between patients, not sterilising equipment, wiping his hands on his uniform rather than washing them and issuing antibiotics without diagnosis.
Following the recall of 22,000 patients (thought to be the largest in NHS history), around 4,500 were tested for blood born viruses such as Hepatitis C and HIV. The tribunal found that this behaviour was “fundamentally incompatible” with the dental profession. Gavin Scott, the chair, went further to say that Mr D’Mello’s practice was “gravely hazardous” placing patients at a “serious risk of infection”.
Jonathan Green, the GDC’s Director of Fitness to Practice, commented that Mr D’Mello’s breaches were a “repetitive and continuous failure to observe very basic infection control measures” and that he did not “demonstrate an understanding of the severity of the charges… or apologise to his patients”.
Proceedings were also brought against Mr D’Mello’s dental nurse, Caroline Surgery, who admitted to 27 similar allegations. Although Ms Surgery was not struck off, her work is now subject to 12 months of supervision and a number of conditions.
Notably, Mr D’Mello did not attend the four-day hearing nor did he seek legal representation to attend on his behalf. The GDC decision will be brought to the attention of dental regulators across Europe.