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Regulation at work protecting patients: 'dodgy dentist' convicted

18 August, 2015

A man who pretended to be a dentist in Victoria today pleaded guilty to the 17 charges filed against him by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

Muhammet Velipasaoglu was convicted of all charges, fined $20,000 and placed on a 12-month community corrections order, requiring him to undertake 250 hours community service.

The Magistrate awarded AHPRA $13,000 costs and noted in sentencing that he would have imposed a term of imprisonment had this been an option.

AHPRA prosecuted Velipasaoglu, for a range of statutory offences including 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 four drugs.

AHPRA took regulatory action on behalf of the Dental Board of Australia, under Part Seven of the National Law. AHPRA and the Dental Board of Australia respect the court decision.

'This shows regulation at work, protecting the public and highlights the significant risks of seeing an unregistered practitioner, because of unsafe treatment and the risk of infection,' said AHPRA CEO, Martin Fletcher.

The case against Velipasaoglu was the first in a series of recent issues that highlighted the risk of poor quality treatment as a result of attending an unregistered practitioner and the risk of substandard infection control standards.

On 22 June 2015, AHPRA announced it had executed search warrants on three properties in Meadow Heights and Roxburgh Park in Victoria, concerned that dental treatment has been provided by unregistered individuals. Investigations into all these individuals are continuing.

Because of significant concerns about poor hygiene, inadequate infection control and substandard care, AHPRA immediately advised Victoria's Department of Health and Human Services, which established a hotline for patients.

The Department managed the possible impact from poor hygiene and inadequate infection control on people who had been treated at these premises.

In July 2015 the Dental Council of NSW announced they had taken regulatory action and limited the registration of a number of dentists in Sydney because of concerns about serious breaches of infection control in a range of dental practices.

The infection control breaches by both the unregistered individuals purporting to be dentists and the registered dentists, highlighted a concern about potential risks to public safety from infection control breaches.

The Dental Board of Australia wrote to every registered dental practitioner in mid-July reminding them of their obligations in meeting the Board's infection control guidelines.

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