Jun 22 2012 by Andrew Burns, Dumfries Standard Friday
A FITNESS to practise order brought against a Dumfries dentist has been dropped.
Kenneth Balfour, who works from Castle Street, appeared before a General Dental Council (GDC) committee facing a number of charges.
He was found guilty of breaching GDC rules but his actions were not deemed to pose an “unwarranted risk” to the public.
It was found that, despite admitting a host of charges, Mr Balfour’s fitness to practice was not impaired and the interim order against him has been revoked.
The allegations against Mr Balfour surfaced following a single complaint a patient, referred to in the GDC documents as patient 16, made in April 2010 in relation to clinical treatment that was provided between 2001 and 2006.
As a result, the GDC commissioned a review of 15 sets of dental records, which was carried out by the Dental Reference Service last year.
Mr Balfour, who lives in Dumfries and started practising in the town in 1986, was then summoned to appear before the Professional Performance Committee in March for an inquiry into numerous charges in relation to his practice.
The committee subsequently found failings in relation to 16 patients, mainly related to record-keeping, assessment and treatment.
It was found that Mr Balfour “failed to: consistently maintain accurate medical histories; consistently record extra-oral examinations; record baseline charting; record the reporting of x-rays; record the type and dosage of local anaesthetics given; record written consent; and record dietary advice and recall intervals”.
The committee also found that he had “failed to carry out adequate patient assessments, failed to take radiographs when necessary, or record preventative advice”.
It was argued that these findings “amounted to deficient professional performance because of their seriousness”, but Mr Balfour’s representative argued against this, saying that the complaints arose “from one isolated complaint and the poor record-keeping could not be described as serious”.
Mr Balfour was found to have breached five GDC ethical standards in relation to working within his knowledge, keeping accurate and up-to-date records and being aware of the laws and regulations which affect the practice.
In its evidence, the committee found that Mr Balfour’s failings had “amounted to deficient professional performance and were serious” but acknowledged that “they did not present an unwarranted risk of harm to patients”.
It was also noted that he had gone to “extraordinary lengths” to improve his practice through a number of training courses.
The GDC findings read: “The committee consider that the deficiencies identified were easily remediable. Consequently, the committee determined that your fitness to practise is not, as at the current time, impaired.”