Man convicted of illegal dental treatments at his home

29 Jan 2020

Brazilian national Mr Eduardo Soares Penques has been convicted of holding himself out as a dentist and carrying out restricted dental acts following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).

The offences occurred in a makeshift dental clinic at his home in contravention of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law.

Mr Soares Penques failed to attend the Local Court of New South Wales to answer the charges and was convicted in his absence. He was fined $16,500 and ordered to pay $3,173 in costs to Ahpra.

Mr Soares Penques has never held registration as a dentist in Australia. He is a resident of Brazil and was temporarily residing in Australia at the time of the offending.

In November 2019 Mr Soares Penques was charged by Ahpra with one count of holding himself out as a dentist and two counts of carrying out a restricted dental act. The charges related to two dates in May and June 2019 when Mr Soares Penques carried out restricted dental acts on two patients in a makeshift dental clinic at his home, an apartment in Surry Hills. The treatment included carrying out a filling and a tooth extraction, and the administering of anaesthetic medications by injection. Mr Soares Penques also falsely held himself out as a dentist to one of these patients.

To ensure the protection of the public, Ahpra has worked closely with the Health Care Complaints Commission of NSW (HCCC) and Ministry of Health NSW. On 26 November 2019 and again on 21 January 2020 the HCCC issued interim prohibition orders in relation to Mr Soares Penques.

Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said prosecuting cases like this is an important part of public safety. ‘Patients put their trust in properly qualified and registered practitioners, and it is a gross violation of that trust when someone falsely claims to be registered,’ he said.

Dental Board of Australia Chair, Dr Murray Thomas said: ‘Anyone who is claiming to be a dentist must be registered with the Dental Board of Australia. We encourage the public to ask questions about the person and check the register of practitioners to see if the person delivering the care is listed.’

Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered can check the register of practitioners or contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495.

From 1 July 2019 things have changed

In February 2019, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) was passed by the Queensland Parliament. The amendments included increased penalties and introduced an imprisonment term of up to three years for offences against the National Law. The penalties will apply to offences committed after 1 July 2019. The introduction of an imprisonment term means that some offences will automatically become indictable offences in all states and territories (except Western Australia).

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Page reviewed 29/01/2020