FOREIGN GRADUATE DENTISTS WORKING WITHOUT VALID LICENSE IN SINGAPORE?

A reader has informed TRE that a bunch of foreign-graduate dentists on conditional registration in Singapore are doing dental work in Little India without any apparent supervision.

The dental clinic at Kerbau Road is called Little India Dentist (www.littleindiadentist.com.sg).

According to its website, Little India Dentist has a team of 4 dentists [Link]:

  1. Dr Nivedita Seerpi, DDS (USA)
  2. Dr Mansoor Walipoor, BDS (Adelaide)
  3. Dr Yushmee Ramburrun, BDS (Bristol)
  4. Dr Katy Kennedy, BDS (Dundee)

All dentists working in Singapore are regulated by the Singapore Dental Council (SDC), a body constituted under the Dental Registration Act (Chapter 76).

Under this Act, the Council is empowered in Singapore [Link]:

  • to approve or reject applications for registration as a dentist;
  • to issue certificates of registration and practising certificates to registered dentists;
  • to make recommendations to the appropriate authorities on the courses of instructions and examinations;
  • to make recommendations to the appropriate authorities for the training and education of registered dentists;
  • to determine and regulate the conduct and ethics of registered dentists; and
  • generally to do all such acts, matters and things as are necessary to be carried out, or which the Council is authorised to carry out, under the Dental Registration Act.

Searching through the records of SDC [Link], the 4 foreign-graduate dentists are found to have only “Conditional Registration” status. That is to say, none of the dentists in Little India Dentist has full registration:

TRE also found that, except for Dr Nivedita Seerpi, none of the other 3 has registered their “Place of Practice” as Little India Dentist. The 3 have instead registered their place of practice elsewhere:

  • Dr Mansoor WalipoorNuffield Dental Kovan
  • Dr Yushmee RamburrunNuffield Healthcare Private Limited
  • Dr Katy Kennedy – Q & M Dental Centre Pte Ltd

What is “Conditional Registration”?

Under section 14A(4) of the Dental Registration Act, dentists under “conditional registration” need to be supervised by a “fully registered Division I dentist” working in the same practice for a specified period (at least 2 years).

The SDC website [Link] further states that dentists under “conditional registration” need to work for a specified period that is equivalent to 2 years full-time of minimum 35 working hours per week under the supervision of a fully registered dentist approved by the Council.

The supervisor must submit a supervisory report on the dentist to the Council every 6 months.

Dentists under conditional registration may apply for conversion to “full registration” after 2 years but this is subject to the Council’s approval.

Also, the supervisor must [Link]:

  1. be a fully registered Division I dentist and
  2. have at least 5 years’ post-BDS experience and
  3. work in the same clinic premises as his/her supervisee

In fact, SDC is quite particular about having full supervision over dentists on conditional registration:

Please note that the supervisory report will determine if the conditionally registered dentist is able to perform his/her duties satisfactorily. The supervisor should exercise due diligence when completing the report for the dentist under his/her charge. Please complete every section of the report. In the event that a supervisor is unable to continue his supervisory duties for the full period of conditional registration, he/she should inform Council immediately and Council will write to the clinic to re-nominate a new supervisor.

SDC is so particular about having dentists on conditional registration supervised by a fully registered dentist that they issued a reminder to all dentists in January [Link]:

Although the risk is small, patients are known to have died from dental treatment gone wrong.

Finally, a criterion for conditional registration requires the dentist to have been approved for employment in Singapore as a dentist in any hospital or other institution or dental practice approved by the Council.

It’s not known if Little India Dentist has been approved by SDC to employ the 4 foreign-graduate dentists who currently hold conditional registration status.

In any case, Little India Dentist does not appear to have any fully registered Division I dentist at the clinic to supervise the 4 conditionally registered dentists.

TRE has emailed SDC for their comments.

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