Warning for patients of unregistered dentist

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Dental Board Judge GavelPublic health authorities in Victoria have put out a warning for patients of a man purporting to be a dentist in Melbourne’s northern suburbs. The warning follows charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) against the man, who has allegedly been providing dental treatment without being registered. Some news outlets have named the man, although the AHPRA and the Department of Health & Human Services have been careful not to name him.

The agencies have, however, revealed that the man had trained as a dentist in Turkey but was not registered to practise in Victoria, and operated from a residential property in Rocklands Rise, Meadow Heights. After a tip off, AHPRA launched an investigation and, assisted by Victoria Police, executed a search warrant on the property and seized equipment.

On behalf of the Dental Board of Australia, AHPRA has charged him under Part 7 of the National Law. This involves prosecuting him through the Magistrates Court for pretending to be a dentist (holding out), using a protected title (dentist), carrying out ‘restricted dental acts, that by law, can only be provided by registered dental practitioners, and for possession of schedule 4 drugs. Unfortunately, the Dental Board of Australia can’t take disciplinary action because the man is not and has not ever been registered in Australia in the National Registration and Accreditation Scheme.

“Our job is to manage risk to patients and protect patient safety,” said AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher. “We have taken all the steps open to us to stop the alleged dental practice by this unregistered person, and manage the ongoing risk to the public.”

Because of concerns about inadequate infection control, poor hygiene and potential public health risks, AHPRA provided an urgent briefing for the Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Victoria’s Acting Chief Health Officer, Dr Finn Romanes, said, “We are taking the unusual step of appealing to the public to contact us because the alleged unregistered dentist did not provide any reliable records about who may have received treatment.

“We are concerned that patients who received dental care from this individual at this premises may have contracted a blood borne infection as a result of poor infection control practices.

“While the risk of the transmission of any infection is regarded as low, we urge any patients to call the Department for information and advice.”

Anyone who believes they or a family member or friend may have been a patient of this alleged unregistered dentist is asked to call the Department on 1800 356 061 to receive advice from trained health staff. This is a free call number and interpreter services will also be available.

The Department will also provide information to callers about arranging dental assessments to determine whether any further professional dental attention is required.

“It is important that anyone who received treatment from this alleged unregistered dentist has their teeth examined by a registered dentist so that any oral health issues can be identified,” Dr Romanes said.

 

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