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Dental Council Applauds Cowboy Dentist Conviction

Media Release
10 August 2001

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Dental Council Applauds “Cowboy” Dentist Conviction

The conviction of a Hastings man for practising as a dentist while not registered and for distributing new medicines without approval has been applauded by the Dental Council of New Zealand.

Satnam Singh Dugh was convicted of these offences in the Hastings District Court this week.

Dental Chairman Brent Stanley said registration of dentists with the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) is one of the most important ways of ensuring New Zealanders receive competent, safe dental treatment.

“It is unacceptable that anyone who has not been proved competent to New Zealand standards should practise as a dentist in this country. The Dental Act 1988, requiring practitioners to be adequately trained and to have been registered by the Dental Council of New Zealand is a vital safeguard. We cannot afford to have “cowboy” dentists practising whenever and wherever they choose.

“We hope this case attracts a great deal of media coverage to warn anyone else practising, or thinking about practising, illegally of the serious consequences,” Dr Stanley said.

The judge commented in the Dugh case that there was a need to ensure that crucial services are properly governed by the regulatory authorities and that medical services are obtained only from suitably qualified persons.

Dugh stated he was a dentist in India more than 10 years ago, but Dr Stanley says because of the range of standards in dental qualifications around the world, and because of the importance of qualifications being current, overseas dentists are required to meet New Zealand standards.

Dr Stanley emphasised the Council’s policies on the registration of overseas dentists do not discriminate on the basis of country of origin.

“Each application is considered on an individual basis.

“Where necessary, dental registration examinations are conducted to enable overseas dentists to demonstrate they are safe to practise. Those who pass these will have proved that their qualifications and experience match those of graduates from the Dental School of the University of Otago,” Dr Stanley said.

In addition to practising dentistry without being registered, Dugh had been supplying medicines of dubious quality and safety to patients. In some cases, the medicines he supplied are not available in New Zealand or because of side effects are restricted in their use, according to the Ministry of Health.

Satnam Singh Dugh was fined $2000 with Court costs of $130 and solicitors costs of $750 for practising dentistry without being registered. For distributing new medicines, the fine was $750 with Court costs of $130. On a charge of supplying prescription medicines when not a licensed practitioner or pharmacist, the Court imposed Court costs of $130.

…ends/


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