Dentist suspended for 15 months, fined $50,000 in third case of misconduct

WH Dental Surgeons, where Dr Sng Wee Hock, Dr Jun Soo Lee and Dr Park Seunghyun worked.

SINGAPORE - A dentist currently suspended for misconduct has been handed another 15-month suspension and a $50,000 fine by the Singapore Dental Council (SDC), for yet another offence, his third in four years.

In the latest case, Dr Sng Wee Hock had allowed two conditionally registered dentists under his charge to provide dental treatment without supervision at different clinics, and on multiple occasions in 2014 and 2015, said the SDC in a statement on Monday (Sept 18). Conditionally registered dentists are foreign trained, and have to work under supervision.

The council has also ordered that the two dentists in question - Dr Jun Soo Lee and Dr Park Seunghyun - be suspended for three months, along with a fine of $8,000 for Dr Lee, and $2,000 for Dr Park.

All three dentists worked at WH Dental Surgeons, which has branches in Hougang, The Seletar Mall in Sengkang West Avenue and Punggol Field.

This is Dr Sng's third offence - he was fined $15,000 in 2013, for not adequately informing a patient about claimable costs under Medisave.

And last year (2016), he was fined $40,000 and suspended for 15 months, for delegating dental procedures to unqualified staff.

The council, which held a disciplinary inquiry on June 28 over the latest offence, said that Dr Sng had failed to supervise Dr Lee over a period of about seven months, and about 100 clinic sessions.

Dr Sng had similarly failed to supervise Dr Park for about three weeks and about nine clinic sessions.

The SDC said that Dr Sng's lapses of supervision were "driven by profits". Given his previous convictions and profit-motive, the council decided to levy the maximum fine of $50,000 and a suspension, to send a strong deterrent message, it said.

For failing to supervise Dr Lee and Dr Park, Dr Sng is suspended for 15 months and four months respectively. Both suspensions will run concurrently, and will commence after his current suspension ends.

The council said that Dr Lee and Dr Park should receive a "lighter sentence" than Dr Sng, and took into consideration the differing periods during which they were unsupervised.

The SDC said it had issued numerous circulars to supervisors and supervisees stating that conditionally registered dentists had to work under supervision in the same clinic as the supervisor. These circulars were published on the SDC's website, and e-mail reminders were also sent to the three dentists.

Dr Sng, Dr Lee and Dr Park will have 30 days to appeal to the High Court against the sentence.

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