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Tuesday, January 19, 1999 Published at 17:31 GMT


Health

Dentist faces charges over 'unnecessary work'

At least six former patients are making claims

A dentist alleged to have carried out unnecessary work on patients could face scores of compensation claims, say lawyers.

Manchester orthodontist Melvyn Megitt, who was said to have earned £600,000 a year, was appearing before the General Dental Council on professional misconduct charges.

Solicitors acting for his former patients - most of them children and young people - said they were seeking compensation for alleged unnecessary work carried out by the orthodontist.

Solicitor Ann Alexander said one of Mr Megitt's former patients, 18-year-old Rachel Grice, had undergone years of painful treatment during which she wore a brace for five years from the age of 10.

"It was only when she saw another dentist that she was told she need only have worn it for 18 months to two years," said Ms Alexander.

"This child had years more suffering than was necessary," she added.

Eight allegations

Ms Alexander said she was already preparing compensation claims on behalf of six former patients and was being contacted by more.

The total number of claims could run into "scores".

Following the hearing, which was not attended by the orthodontist, the Salford and Trafford Health Authority set up a helpline for his former patients to contact if they had concerns.

By 3pm on Tuesday, more than 150 former patients had called.

Dr Christine Pickin, director of public health for the authority, said: "A few people telephoning the helpline have concerns about treatment which has not yet been completed."

She said the authority would put them in touch with a dentist specialist as quickly as possible.

As well as the charge of claiming NHS fees for treatment not provided, Mr Megitt faces eight allegations including "failing to exercise a proper degree of skill and attention".

Mr Megitt operated four surgeries in Altrincham, Oldham, Sale and Salford, until he ceased work following an investigation by the Dental Practice Board.



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