A dental practice in Aberdeen has been closed until further notice after both directors were suspended for 18 months by the General Dental Council (GDC).
Fergus and Glover Dental Practice ceased operations on December 8 after it came to light that they were not registered with Health Improvement Scotland (HIS).
The GDC summoned both directors, George Glover and Jacqueline Fergus, to a virtual hearing on December 15.
They were accused of “operating an unregistered healthcare service that was not being inspected by either NHS or HIS practice inspectors to ensure a safe duty of care”.
Both defendants were represented by MDDUS, the defence organisation for healthcare professionals, in the hearing.
They claimed that the task for arranging registration with HIS was “delegated to the
practice manager who is very experienced and had worked with the registrants for over 14 years at the time when the registration process commenced”.
The pair were aware that payment for the registration had been made from the company’s bank account and the practice manager remained in contact with HIS.
However, “they did not receive written confirmation of registration with HIS and they accept that they ought to have ensured that the delegated task had been done”.
It was also revealed that the practice manager had been suffering health problems while he was applying for the registration and hid HIS enforcement letters addressed to Ms Fergus and Mr Glover as he thought he could resolve the issues himself.
Despite a plea not to suspend them while the investigation is ongoing, the GDC ruled that it was in the public interest to do this.
The ruling stated: “The committee noted that it is the responsibility of
registrants to ensure that all necessary registrations are in place and this was accepted on behalf of Mr Glover
“It was of the view that a well-informed member of the public would be shocked and dismayed to learn that Ms Fergus/Mr Glover was allowed to continue practising without restriction in circumstances where her dental practices were unregistered but continued trading.
“The committee considered that providing dental services from
unregistered premises is a serious breach of standards with far-reaching consequences.
“Furthermore, it considered that there is a direct potential harm to the safety of patients in an operator providing services without appropriate inspections to ensure they are working in line with the relevant guidelines.”
Fergus and Glover dental practice
Both Glover and Fergus were suspended for 18 months while the case is investigated.
Fergus and Glover have two premises in Scotland, one on Union Street in Aberdeen and one on Hutcheson Street in Glasgow.
Both have been closed while the practice is re-registered with HIS.
In a letter to patients, they apologised for not registering and said that practice will remain closed until it had been completed.
It added: ” We would like to take the opportunity to offer our sincere apologies to you personally for this omission on our part.
“Our concern of course is to look after the best interests of our patients and we are making arrangements for your ongoing care during this difficult period.
“Should you have any queries about your treatment at this time, please feel free to contact the practice and a member of the team will be pleased to speak to you.”
Glover and Fergus’ representation declined to comment on the case.