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Dentist who put his patients at risk of HIV is struck off register

A DENTIST whose patients had to be tested for HIV after he contracted the infection and tried to hide it has been struck off the dental register.

Thousands of NHS and private patients from Kelburne Dental Surgery in Paisley, Renfrewshire, were advised there was a "very slight risk" they had been exposed to the virus after being treated by Harry Robertson.

The General Dental Council (GDC) conducted a private hearing into his actions, with the majority of the charges against him withheld from the public, but documents show he was accused of "dishonest conduct".

One charge also states that he tried to hide his profession from the medical staff who were treating his HIV.

Documents from the GDC also state that his fitness to practise was impaired "by reason of adverse physical and/or mental health and/or misconduct". Healthcare

Healthcare workers (including dentists) with HIV can now undertake all procedures if they are on effective combination anti-retroviral drug therapy.

Mr Robertson, of Glasgow, was suspended in May last year and struck off yesterday after a final GDC hearing.

A ruling on the case stated: "The Committee has determined that it is appropriate to erase the name of Harry Gordon Robertson from the Dentists Register."

Another charge of acting aggressively towards a member of staff from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde (NHSGGC) was found not proven.

In August last year, NHSGGC contacted patients who had been treated by Mr Robertson between January 2004 and March 2013.

More than 10,000 patients were tested and no-one was found to be HIV positive.

However, almost 500 patients were not traced at that time.

Mr Robertson also provided locum Sunday emergency cover at Nithbank Hospital in Dumfries between April 2004 and 2007.

NHS Dumfries and Galloway said last year that the dentist treated 247 patients during that time and 14 could not be traced.

A spokeswoman for NHSGGC said the health board became aware of the dentist's HIV status in May last year and subsequently referred him to the GDC.

The spokeswoman added that the council had now been able to contact the "vast majority" of patients by letter.

She said: "There were people who we could not trace because they had moved from the area and we conducted a public awareness campaign in the hope these people would present for testing.

"Ultimately, however, it was down to a personal decision by individuals on whether to respond to our appeal for testing."

Dr Syed Ahmed, consultant in public health medicine, said it would be "very rare" for HIV to be passed to a patient from a healthcare professional.

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