‘Greedy’ dentists suspended for fraud

A dentist has been suspended for 12 months after committing fraud.
 
Ravinder Suryavansi, 52, of Burywoods, Colchester, Essex, has been removed from the dentists’ register by the General Dental Council (GDC).
 
Last year, he admitted 14 counts of false accounting while working at Collingwood Dental Surgery, Witham in Essex, where he was based from 1988 to 2004.
 
He was sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work.
 
He was also told to pay compensation of more than £3,000 to the NHS and almost £36,000 in prosecution costs.
 
Despite admitting the charges at Chelmsford Crown Court, he was allowed to continue working as a dentist for the Zen Clinic, at the Tollgate Medical Centre, in London Road, Stanway, after the interim committee because the GDC declined to suspend him pending a full hearing.
 
Now the professional conduct committee has taken away his licence, but will allow him to return as a practising dentist in a year.
 
The committee noted that Mr Suryavansi’s offending continued over a period of four years between 2000 and 2004.
 
It told him: ‘This was sustained and deliberate fraud. You have not placed before the committee any clear explanation as to the reasons for your conduct.’
 
At the time of sentencing, Judge Ball QC found that his conduct was motivated by personal greed and that ‘essentially, you wanted more money than you were entitled to for the work you were doing in order to meet monetary shortfalls at home because you were not able to properly control your own finances’.
 
The judge concluded that his dishonest conduct would normally merit immediate imprisonment, although was influenced against imposing this because of  ‘troubled domestic circumstances that existed within his family’.
 
The committee noted that he had ‘shown insight and remorse’ for his actions and that there had been ‘a supportive petition instigated by nurses in your current practice and signed by many of your patients’.

His representative also told them of his ‘very serious domestic problems’ which involved him having sole care of his two young children.
 
The committee added that it considers ‘there is very little risk of repetition on your part. These offences occurred a long time ago, more than seven years, and there has been no repetition since.’
 
It told him that it was ‘extremely impressed by the very large number of fulsome letters of support and testimonials, from both patients and fellow professionals, written in the knowledge of your conviction’ and that it is ‘entirely satisfied that you do not currently pose any real risk to patients, the public or the public purse’.
 
The committee took into account the years since the fraud, his compliance with the courts’ orders, testimonials from patients and colleagues, as well as his difficult domestic situation and the fact he cares for his children, so only imposed the 12-month ban.

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