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Last Updated: Wednesday, 26 September 2007, 17:58 GMT 18:58 UK
Dentist guilty in headscarf row
Omer Butt
Dr Omer Butt had denied the charge
A dentist who told a female patient she must wear a Muslim headscarf to receive treatment has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct.

Dr Omer Butt was found guilty of discriminating against the woman, known as Ms A, by a disciplinary panel of the General Dental Council (GDC).

The patient said she was "humiliated and upset" after the encounter at the surgery in Bury, Greater Manchester.

Dr Butt received an admonition at the end of the three-day GDC hearing.

Stewart Goulding, chairman of the GDC professional conduct committee, told Dr Butt that his conduct had fallen short of the standard expected.

But he said the committee had noted testimonials from other patients in reaching their conclusion.

Inside the surgery it's Dr Butt's world and his rules apply
Dental nurse

He said: "The committee is satisfied that the appropriate decision is to conclude the case today with this admonition.

"As a member of a caring profession, a dentist has a responsibility to put the interests of patients first.

"The professional relationship between dentist and patient relies on trust and the assumption that a dentist will act in the best interests of the patient.

"The effect of your actions on this occasion was to impede patient A's access to local dental services."

The dentist had denied the charges, but admitted he would ask Muslim women to cover up in accordance with Islamic law before he treated them and reducing fees to encourage patients to wear the headscarf.

Dr Butt, of Prestwich, Greater Manchester, was found to have "undermined public confidence" in the dental profession by discriminating against the woman in April 2005.

No jewellery

Giving evidence in his defence, Dr Butt said he "politely requested" the woman, a non-practising Muslim, to wear a headscarf.

He said it was "unlawful" for him, as a Muslim, to look at a Muslim woman who was not properly covered up.

The patient, a community nurse who worked in Bury, said Dr Butt told her she would have to find another dentist because she would not wear the headscarf.

The hearing was told the dentist later quoted Islamic Sharia law on appropriate relationships between men and women.

Patient A said she was told by a dental nurse at the surgery: "Inside the surgery it's Dr Butt's world and his rules apply."

The patient said she sought to register at the Unsworth Smile Clinic after the birth of her young child because it was nearer to her home.

She said she telephoned the clinic to make an appointment and was told they required Muslim women to wear the headscarf.

Muslim men attending the clinic could not wear gold jewellery, she was told.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Dr Omer Butt was wrong to tell a patient she had to wear a headscarf for treatment



SEE ALSO
Dentist denies headscarf 'order'
25 Sep 07 |  Manchester
Dentist in Islamic headscarf row
24 Sep 07 |  Manchester

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