Retired dentist fined for running illegal service

A retired East Sussex dentist has been ordered to pay more than £3,000 after pleading guilty to running an illegal dental service.

Hastings Law Courts
Hastings Law Courts

The General Dental Council (GDC), says it launched an investigation into 68-year-old Guy Smithson of Harding Avenue, Eastbourne, folllowing a complaint that he was running a mobile denture service in the area.

As part of its investigation, the GDC say it found Mr Smithson had held himself out as being prepared to practise dentistry at a care home in Bexhill in February 2018.

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The GDC say Smithson was removed from the dentist's register in January 2016 as he had failed to pay the annual membership fee. As a result, by running the service he was committing an offence under Section 38 of the Dentists Act 1984, which makes it illegal for anyone not correctly registered with the GDC to practise dentistry.

Smithson pleaded guilty to the offence at Hastings Magistrates’ Court last Friday (April 13) and was ordered to pay a £500 fine, a £50 victim surcharge and full GDC legal costs of £2,673.

In passing sentence, the magistrate said: “As a retired dentist you know the requirements of dentistry and of being registered. You were in a position of authority and treating vulnerable patients.”

Francesca Keen, Head of Illegal Practice at the General Dental Council, said: “Our primary purpose at the GDC is to protect the public from harm. Regardless of the qualifications an individual may have held in the past, unless they are currently registered with the GDC, fully insured to practise and up to date with professional development requirements, they pose a real risk to the public.

"The GDC takes reports of illegal practice of dentistry very seriously and, where appropriate, will prosecute in the criminal courts.”

Anyone who suspects illegal dentistry is taking place should report it via the GDC’s website