A DENTIST has been punished for a string of ‘serious and widespread failings’ in the care of a patient.

Douglas Lee, who works at The Douglas Lee Dental Practice in Whalley Road, Accrington, was brought before a professional conduct committee hearing by the General Dental Council (GDC).

The hearing found he ‘failed to provide an adequate standard of care’ to the patient from June 13, 2014 to July 18, 2016.

He was also found to have sworn and used inappropriate and unprofessional language when talking about the patient’s treatment to a dental technician he worked with. 

The hearing was told how the patient had attended Mr Lee’s dental surgery following a referral.

She had been looking for a long-term solution to pain, gum recession and aesthetic improvement.

She attended the dentist for around 27 different appointments and made a complaint to the GDC in respect of her treatment. 

Her treatment included removal of all her teeth in the upper arch, insertion of implants and a full arch bridge.

But Mr Lee was found guilty of failings including ‘not carrying out a full patient examination in advance of treatment and ‘not providing adequate treatment options for the patient’s toothache’.

Other failings made by Mr Lee included ‘not carrying out an adequate assessment of the patient’s presenting condition’ and ‘not providing adequate advice in relation to the patient’s gum recession’.

The dentist was also found to have ‘failed to communicate with Mr Roach, a dental technician who worked with him, and constructed the patient’s bridge, in an appropriate and/or a professional manner’ when talking about the patient’s treatment. 

Mr Roach’s involvement in the hearing was to provide a witness statement to the GDC and a number of charges against Mr Lee were proved based on his evidence.

In June 2015 during a telephone call to Mr Roach, Mr Lee swore and told him: “This is beyond a joke.”

Then in December 2015, Mr Lee said to Mr Roach: ‘You’ve put me in an awkward position.’

In the same month, in another conversation, he again swore at his dental technician and told him: “I’ve lost a lot of money.”

During a telephone call to Mr Roach in December 2015, Mr Lee continued to swear and told Mr Roach: “The bridge is rubbish.”

Mr Lee blamed Mr Roach for the problems he had with Patient A’s bridge but at no point was the quality of Mr Roach's work in doubt. 

On July 10, 2015, Mr Lee was also found to have ‘failed to communicate with the patient in an appropriate and/or professional manner’.

He told the patient that he would ‘not carry out further maintenance until the balance of fees was settled’ and also disputed the payment of fees in the presence of children on work experience.

Due to the ‘serious and widespread failings’ highlighted in its findings, the committee decided to impose conditions on Mr Lee’s registration for a period of 12 months. 

Conditions include that he must inform the GDC if he applies for dental employment outside the UK and he must inform the GDC of any formal disciplinary proceedings taken against him from the date of the determination. 

Documents released by the GDC read: “The committee has decided to impose conditions on your registration for a period of 12 months. 

“The committee took into account that you have already engaged in this process and met with the associate postgraduate dental dean. 
“It considered the serious and widespread failings highlighted in its findings. 

“It decided that, even with good progress, it would take a considerable amount of time for you to produce evidence of how you have embedded all your learning into your practice.”

Mr Lee was unavailable for comment.