Dental therapist fined and censured

By Imran Ali -
Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

A Whangarei dental therapist has been censured and fined for working without holding a current practising certificate.

Cherie Griffen, an employee of the Ngati Hine Health Trust, was charged by a professional conduct committee of the Dental Council that between on or about April 1, 2012 and April 18, 2012, she worked as a dental therapist when she did not hold a current practising certificate.

A hearing was convened by the New Zealand Health Practitioners' Disciplinary Tribunal in Whangarei yesterday where she was censured and fined.

A written decision will be released later.

On March 1, 2012 the Dental Council posted out annual practising certificate (APC) renewal application forms to all registered dental therapists and sent another reminder about three weeks later. The council advised Ms Griffen that her APC was due for renewal before April 1, 2012 and that under the Health Practitioners' Competence Assurance Act 2003, it was unlawful to practise without it.

Another reminder was sent on March 27 and on April 3, the deputy registrar of the council wrote to her as her application form was not received on time.

Ms Griffen was told to stop practising immediately if she was doing so without a current certificate. The council said if it became aware that she had been practising without a certificate, she would be referred to a professional conduct committee. Ms Griffen called the council on April 17 and said she had sent her application form a week and a half earlier but was told it had not arrived on time.

The same day, the registrar of the council wrote to Dental Protection, ACC and the Ministry of Health, advising them that Ms Griffen did not hold a practising certificate.

A day later, her application was received and her practising certificate renewed for the period April 18, 2012 to March 31, 2013.

The next day, a council employee rang the Ngati Hine Health Trust and the practice manager said Ms Griffen had worked clinically on April 13 and 16.

In defence, Ms Griffen said forms and a fax sent by her employer did not go through.

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