General Dental Council v Jamie Farebrother (18th January 2017 Westminster Magistrates Court)

On 18th January 2017, a matter was brought to the Westminster Magistrates Court by the General Dental Council (GDC) concerning teeth-whitening being unlawfully performed by an unqualified person, namely Ms Jamie Farebrother (Defendant) at her beauty salon.

Background

On 6th April 2016, Miss Cullan attended the Defendant’s beauty salon to have her teeth whitened. Whilst carrying out the treatment Miss Cullan began to feel severe discomfort leaving Miss Cullan’s gums inflamed, increasing the sensitivity in her teeth and leaving her in severe discomfort for the next 7 days.

The incident was reported to the GDC, who had already received a separate complaint over the Defendant’s activities. The GDC pointed out that a separate complaint was sent to them informing them of Ms Farebrother’s practices of teeth-whitening. On 13th April 2014, the GDC had sent out a letter informing Ms Farebrother that it was a criminal offence to perform this treatment without being qualified.

At the hearing, the GDC argued that under section 38 of the Dentistry Act 1984, only registered dentists and registered dental care professionals could provide dental treatment and as shown in the matter of GDC v Jamous [2013] EWHC 1428, teeth-whitening fell within the definition of dentistry.

The GDC argued that there were many considerations to be taken into account such as considering the shape of the patient’s mouth, the chances of sensitivity increasing, managing any reactions to the treatment, the ability to be able to provide information from a qualified person and having knowledge over the content of the product being applied. The GDC argued that an unqualified person could not provide such measures and the Defendant was not qualified and had never been qualified to perform such procedures.

The Defendant who pleaded guilty, stated that she believed that she has been the victim of mis-selling by the suppliers of the teeth whitening product, a company called Megawhite.

The Defendant stated that no indication was ever given to her by Megawhite that there would be any issues with her providing the service and that she has been a victim of mis-selling by the supplier.

The Defendant’s solicitor, somewhat  surprisingly sought to  argue that the products used were readily available to purchase over the counter and that surely it would be safer to have them applied by a salon (where there was a second person to intervene and assist) as opposed to individuals applying it by themselves at home.

Decision:

The magistrates stated that treatments such as teeth-whitening should be carried out by qualified persons who had the relevant emergency procedures and that it was clear from Ms Cullan’s incident as to the reason why this was necessary. The judge whilst sympathetic to the fact that the Defendant could possibly have been a victim of mis-selling of tooth whitening products to her by her own suppliers also pointed out that the public must never the less be protected.

It was ordered that the Defendant pay a £500 fine, a further £500 in compensation to Ms Cullan and £1031 in costs to the GDC.

Please note that the above does not constitute legal advice, for further information please contact Nath Solicitors.

 

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