Groping dentist is struck off

Adrian Heath
Adrian Heath

A DENTIST and former parliamentary candidate who fondled the breasts of two patients during examinations in Gainsborough has been kicked out of the profession.

Adrian Heath told women he was feeling their glands as he performed the inappropriate examinations, the General Dental Council ruled.

In one case he ‘tweaked’ a patient’s nipple and asked her to undo her trousers.

Heath was cleared of sexual assault at a criminal trial in 2010, but a professional misconduct hearing found the allegations proved after ruling the dentist’s evidence ‘lacked credibility’.

Ordering his name be struck off the dental register, panel chair Lynne Stewart said: “Mr Heath’s actions in respect of these two patients amounted to a serious breach of trust and an invasion of patients’ personal dignity.”

The first patient had gone for an emergency appointment at Oasis Dental Care in The Strait, Lincoln, with an abscess in her mouth.

After an initial examination, Heath asked for an X-ray to be carried out at the Genesis Dental Practice, Market Street, Gainsborough in August 2008 and told a dental nurse to ‘take her time’ developing her scans.

Heather Norton, for the GDC, said: “He told her that he needed to speak to the patient about something and that he would call her back when she was needed.”

“He began to examine the patient extra-orally, asking if her glands were swollen and felt under her neck and jaw.”

“He then moved down to around her clavicle, her collarbone and then and started to examine the top of her left breast.”

Ms Norton told the hearing that the patient recalled Heath had continued to talk about glands throughout the examination.

She had not been to a dentist for some time and thought this was standard practice.

“The patient recalled that she was wearing a vest type of top and he had his hands underneath that top, and into the cup of her bra, and brought out her left breast.”

“He brought out her right breast and said he could see a difference, telling her the left was swollen.”

“He then moved in front of her and asked her to undo her trousers, at which point she said she was embarrassed.”

“He apologised for embarrassing her, and re-examined her breast, rubbing her nipple and asking if it hurt.”

During this time dental nurse Catherine Ayre popped her head round the door to say she was finished with the X-rays.

Afterwards she asked why he had needed the time alone with the patient, ‘not through concern, but curiosity,’ Miss Norton said.

Heath told her he suspected she had a sexually transmitted disease and had advised her to contact her GP.

The patient contacted the police later that day and Heath was arrested and stood trial initially in September 2009, but the case was halted after a second victim, known only as CB, came forward following publicity in a local newspaper.

She claimed she was groped while visiting the surgery for an emergency appointment in November 2007.

During the examination, Heath had touched her armpits and the top of her breasts, in two appointments a week apart.

“Mr Heath touched two patients in a way, which was not only inappropriate but also sexually motivated,” said Heather Norton.

“This was a gross invasion of the patients person and was gross misconduct.”

The dentist, of Homefield Road, Nottingham, had admitted not making the correct records, and examining the patients’ necks, but denied the sexual allegations.

He was found guilty of all the charges against him after a week-long hearing in central London.

Heath qualified as a dentist at Newcastle University in 1995 and is a former member of West Lindsey District Council.

In 2005 he fought the Gainsborough constituency for the Liberal Democrats, finishing second to Conservative Edward Leigh.