by Linda Straker
- Derek Richards is only qualified as a dental auxiliary
- Practicing Dentistry Without Being Registered is a violation of Health Practitioners Act
A person who engaged in the practice of dentistry for many years in Grenada is facing 8 counts of Practicing Dentistry Without Being Registered, a violation of the Health Practitioners Act which was approved by both Houses of Parliament in 2010 but came into effect 1 March 2012.
Following complaints dating back to 2017 and an investigation carried out by the relevant authorities, Derek Richards who operates as a dentist in a dental clinic in St George’s but is only qualified as a dental auxiliary was recently charged for the offence. He was placed on EC$20,000 bail.
22 August 2019 is the date set for him to make his court appearance for the start of the Preliminary Inquiries at the criminal magistrate court.
The law makes it mandatory for all health practitioners, medical doctors and dentists and allied health practitioners to be registered with the Medical and Dental Council. The law provides a 6-month grace period for all persons practicing medical or dental services once the law was given a date of effect.
“The Council shall, immediately upon the commencement of this Act, cause to be entered in the Register the particulars specified in section 96 in respect of all persons who immediately before commencement of this Act was registered as medical practitioners and dental practitioners under the Medical Practitioners, Dentists and Veterinary, Surgeons Registration Act, without application made on the part of these persons and without the payment of any fee, and pending such entry, such persons shall continue to practice as they did prior to this Act, but shall within six months of passage of this Act file with the Council the necessary applications and prescribed fees to be deemed to be General Practitioners, Specialist Practitioners or Temporary Practitioners as the case may be,” the law recommends.
As a dental auxillary, his profession is among those that are described as Allied Health Practitioners and they too must be registered. The legislation says that a person shall not practice as an allied health practitioner in any allied health profession specified in the schedule or hold himself or herself out to be an allied health practitioner unless the person is registered as an allied health practitioner.
“A person shall not practice as an allied health practitioner in any allied health profession specified in the schedule or hold himself or herself out to be an allied health practitioner unless the person holds a valid licence pursuant to this Part and complies with this Act, the Regulations and the conditions of registration.” The legislation recommends a fine not exceeding $250,000 or to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 5 years.