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Dentist case adjourned because of blunder
Placed by : Looking for Dental 17-04-2007
By Press reporter - David Heppleston
A CROOKED dentist who was due to be struck off for a £450,000 con on the NHS will now be dealt with by the General Dental Council (GDC) later in the year.
North Yorkshire-based David Heppleston was jailed for four years last December for a fraud spanning eight-and-a-half years.
Heppleston, who is currently languishing behind bars in Lindholme Prison, Doncaster, faced being struck off yesterday - but the case was adjourned because of an administrative blunder.
GDC chairman Martyn Green ruled that proper procedures had not being followed to notify him of the hearing.
He said: "The committee notes a willingness on the part of the dentist to engage in these proceedings and notes that nothing has been received from him by the council or his solicitors to him at his current address.
"Accordingly the committee is not satisfied that the dentist has actually being served with the notice of inquiry. The committee is also not satisfied that all reasonable efforts have been taken to serve the dentist. He has not been served by the council with a notice of inquiry at his current address, notified to the council on 22 February 2007 as HMP Lindholme. Nor has he been given 28 days to consider his response to the notice.
"In the circumstances the committee has decided to adjourn this hearing to ensure that proper service takes place and afford the dentist an opportunity to adequately respond to the notice."
The case will now be heard later this year at a date yet to be set.
Heppleston pocketed a fortune by inventing "ghost" patients and claiming for fictitious treatment for existing patients.
The scam was discovered through routine checks in June 2005.
Heppleston, who ran a surgery in York Place, in Scarborough, won £64,000 on the quiz show Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in 2002. Nearly all of Heppleston's individual fraudulent claims were below £360. Claims over that amount would not have been approved automatically.
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