Dental Council needs to take tougher stance

THE Consumer Council of Fiji is calling on the Fiji Dental Council (FDC) to exercise a higher level of responsibility and take a tougher stance against unscrupulous and unlicensed dental practitioners operating from licensed practices.

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This comes after the Council found that a dental practitioner who recently had her Annual Practice License (APL) revoked is still operating her practices as usual. The Council is aware that the dentist?s APL was revoked on 6th May 2013 with immediate effect due to her inability to secure indemnity insurance as per the requirements of the Medical & Dental Practitioner Decree 2010. However, our investigations yesterday (8th May 2013) and today 9th May 2013 found that the practitioner?s clinics at Sports City and Caines Janif Building Suva were still taking appointments.

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The Council is disappointed that this dentist continues to practice despite revocation of her license. The dentist has also failed to abide by the orders of the Fiji Dental Council to close all her clinics and facilities where she was the sole licensed dental practitioner. Yesterday (8th May 2013) and today the Council found that the dentist had not put up closure notices at her clinics or placed paid advertisements in the local newspapers despite the FDC?s directive to notify the consumers on the closure of her clinics.

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The Council finds that the Fiji Dental and Medical Secretariat have been slow to verify whether the dentist has abided by the directive. The Secretariat has not done any follow-ups to ensure that the clinics are closed due to the revocation of the practitioner?s license. Consumers? lives are being put at risk with the dentist still practicing without a valid APL and indemnity insurance.

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What also concerns the Council is how Fiji Dental and Medical Secretariat allowed this dentist to operate 5 clinics where she is the only sole licensed dental practitioner for all 5 premises. How can one dentist serve the consumers in all 5 clinics? The Council is aware that unregistered dentists are being used by her based on a complaint received by the Council. In this case a consumer lost a healthy front tooth while getting a simple L shaped gold filling done. A formal complaint was lodged by the Council on 29 May 2012 to the Fiji Dental and Medical Secretariat and it is shocking that no action has been taken against this dentist for employing unlicensed dentist in her practice till to date. ???

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The Council is not concerned how many practices are owned by an individual dentist but whether all practices have licensed dental practitioners with proper equipments for sterilization etc to ensure that consumers? lives are not imperiled.?

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Meanwhile, the Council is informing consumers that they are at risk if they seek treatment at the dental clinics located at Sports City, Laucala Bay; Conner of Sese Street and Rewa Street, Samabula; Kaba Street, Tamavua; Nausori Town, Main Street opposite bus stand and at Caines Janif Building, Suva.

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Those consumers who sought services from these five clinics are encouraged to come to the Council to reveal the name of the dentist who provided the service. The Council is calling for consumer solidarity to stop unregistered dentist practicing at clinics holding Annual Practice License (APL).

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-Press Release-