Dentist struck off after public hearing

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News

A dentist has been struck off by the General Dental Council (GDC) following a public hearing into allegations of misconduct.

The allegations against Deborah Elizabeth Houghton, of Main Street, Normanton, near Caythorpe, were heard by the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) in London on December 1.

The charges she faced included issuing private and NHS prescriptions to members of her family and a colleague for non-dental purposes; and making inappropriate, misleading and dishonest claims for payment from the NHS.

These inappropriate claims include making separate claims for Units of Dental Activity (the Government’s method of paying dentists for NHS work) for the provision of prescriptions issued as part of a course of treatment, thereby splitting a course of treatment into separate claims and creating false dates and entries to support the claims.

She was also charged with making claims for UDAs in respect of incomplete treatment for dentures and creating false dates and entries to support the claims; and making claims for UDAs in respect of various dental treatments thereby splitting a course of treatment into separate claims and creating false dates and entries to support the claims, including the closure of courses of treatment prematurely, to fall before the annual closing date for UDA claims.

In a statement to Ms Houghton when considering the case, the GDC’s Professional Conduct Committee said: “Your dishonest conduct is in the Committee’s view damaging to your fitness to practise and public confidence in dental professionals is such that removal of your professional status is the appropriate outcome.

“You have demonstrated no remorse, acceptance or insight into your conduct. Important choices about treatment options and significant financial decisions can be made on the basis not only of registrants’ skill but also of their honesty. Dishonesty, particularly when associated with professional practice, is highly damaging to a registrant’s fitness to practise and to public confidence in dental professionals.”

Unless Ms Houghton, who was immediately suspended, exercises her right of appeal, her name will be struck off the register in approximately 28 days’ time.

The GDC investigates matters when it is alleged that a dental professional’s ability, behaviour or health may mean that their fitness to practise is currently impaired.