Stoke & Staffordshire

Dentist Rajesh Narendranath named in apology row

The Health Service Ombudsman has publicly named a Staffordshire dentist who was investigated for repeatedly refusing to apologise to a patient.

A woman identified as Mrs D claimed Rajesh Narendranath was "rude and unprofessional" and hurt her in 2007.

Ombudsman Ann Abraham said she hoped naming him would prompt an apology.

The dentist, from the Stone Family Dental Practice, told the Ombudsman he felt he had already apologised in a letter to the General Dental Council.

A spokesman from the Dental Defence Union told the BBC Mr Narendranath did not wish to comment.

Apology 'overdue'

In a report laid before Parliament, Ms Abraham said she hoped her decision would prompt him to issue a "long overdue" apology to the woman.

Mr Narendranath, who is known as Mr Nath, was directed to apologise to the patient by the Healthcare Commission in April 2008.

The patient claimed Mr Nath had hurt her during consultations to treat a broken crown and toothache between July and September 2007.

But despite the Healthcare Commission upholding Mrs D's complaint, and instructing Mr Nath to apologise, Mrs D did not receive an apology and she took the matter to the General Dental Council (GDC) and the Ombudsman.

The Ombudsman then investigated the matter and upheld Mrs D's complaint, ruling Mr Nath should acknowledge his failings in full, apologise to Mrs D and also pay £500 in compensation for feelings of shock and offence she had suffered.

This is the first time Ms Abraham has published a report "specifically to alert Parliament to a healthcare professional's refusal to put things right following a complaint".

'Address shortcomings'

Ms Abraham's report said: "I have taken the decision, in light of Mr Nath's response to our draft report, to share the findings of our investigation into Mrs D's complaint with the GDC.

"I consider Mr Nath's unwillingness to comply with recommendations of professional bodies raises concerns about his fitness to practise, sufficient to constitute a risk to the health and safety of patients."

In the report, Ms Abraham stated: "Mr Nath told us he considered that Mrs D had had an apology and that his representative's letter to the GDC constituted an apology.

"He said he had tried to address his shortcomings and he had sent more than one apology. He also said that he would not pay Mrs D any compensation."

In a statement, South Staffordshire Primary Care Trust said it would "now need to consider action under the powers available to it and will also be discussing this case with the General Dental Council".

It said: "Whilst they are not normally employed by the NHS, dentists are expected to comply with similar standards to NHS employees."

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