Dentist Paul D’Eathe is to be allowed to return to work after being suspended for two years by NHS Shetland, a hearing of the General Dental Council decided.
However, Mr D’Eathe will have to undergo retraining and will be subject to strict conditions to protect the public.
Mr D’Eathe was suspended in January 2012 and the GDC found him guilty of misconduct in three areas.
Firstly, in record keeping and radiography relating to 14 patients over seven years, Mr D’Eathe failed to make any records at all for a “significant number” of appointments, and his “exceptionally poor clinical records … had the potential to put patients at risk.”
Secondly, he failed to identify the “general dental needs” of orthodontic patients for whom he was responsible, and, thirdly, failed to engage with investigation and remedial training.
The GDC report stated: “You failed in your professional responsibility to comply with the requirement of NHS Shetland to address your deficiencies and improve your practice. The committee found your failure to do so amounted to misconduct.”
However, for 12 days immediately prior to his suspension he made “considerable improvement” in record keeping and radiography, which showed he was capable of improvement. He also undertook continuing professional development (CPD) while not working, thus remedying his deficiencies in this area.
But although he has pledged to address his shortcomings he has not yet had a chance to do so in ordinary practice over a sustained period, and so the GDC committee, which met two weeks ago, decided to impose a “robust plan” of conditions for 18 months. During this time Mr D’Eathe’s registration as a dentist will be conditional on his compliance for the protection of the public.
Mr D’Eathe must now undertake a training, revision, assessment, mentoring and support programme and then a practitioner action plan formulated for him by NHS Education for Scotland.
This requires him to have a clinical supervisor within NHS Shetland who will report on his progress to the GDC every six months. He must confine his work to the NHS and not undertake any out of hours or locum work without the agreement of the GDC.
He must also notify the GDC of any professional appointment he takes, together with the employer’s contact details, and must allow the GDC to exchange information with his employer.
Additionally he must inform the GDC of any disciplinary proceedings taken against him, and notify them if he applies for work outside the UK.