Tragedy of ‘NHS strain’ Leeds dentist - inquest

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A dentist killed himself after feeling “harassed and bullied” by health chiefs over standards of record keeping at his practice in Leeds, an inquest heard.

Dr Anand Kamath, 42, was under investigation by NHS, Airedale, Bradford and Leeds over the keeping of records at Rothwell Dental Surgery – which he ran with his wife and fellow dentist Dr Rajni Prasad.

The inquest at Wakefield heard father-of-three Dr Kamath was in danger of being referred to the General Dental Council and feared for his career.

Dr Kamath, who had injuries to his wrists, was found dead in the bath at his home in Pudsey on December 3 last year – just days after he and his wife had attended a meeting with the health trust on November 28.

The inquest heard the trust had threatened to refer the practice to regulatory body The General Dental Council.

In a statement read to the court, Dr Rajni Prasad described how the couple felt after the November 28 meeting: “My husband and I were both very stressed by this and both felt very vulnerable and harassed and bullied with no support offered.”

Following the meeting, the couple received a letter from the trust which Dr Prasad described as “brutal and heavy handed”. She added in the statement: “He felt extremely stressed and bullied by them and wasn’t able to eat or sleep, which led to him taking his own life.”

The inquest heard how, following two minor complaints about the dental practice, the primary care trust decided to conduct an audit of 30 of the practice’s patients.

Dr Rajni Prasad said the audit revealed the practice had been “a bit slack” with record keeping due to the high volume of patients.

Dr John Renshaw, professional director of Oral Care Consulting Ltd and former chairman of the British Dental Association, said the couple had more than 9,000 active NHS patients, creating a workload which led to problems with clinical recording. Mr Hinchliff said that in Dr Renshaw’s opinion: “Unreasonable pressure exerted on him (Dr Kamath) by Leeds PCT appears to have pushed a good man over the edge.”

Recording a verdict of suicide, Mr Hinchliff said: “There had been a complaint and an investigation, not about his ability as a dentist, but in relation to record keeping which had put him and his wife under an intolerable strain. It seems he was in grave danger of being reported to the General Dental Council, being removed from the list of practitioners which would have ended his career. It appears all of this preyed on his mind and it just became too much and he had taken action to end his own life.”

After the hearing, a spokesman for NHS England (West Yorkshire), said: “The Local Area Team has taken over responsibility for commissioning of dental practices from the former PCT and although we were not involved in this case at the time the legacy has been passed to us.

“We are happy that the investigation that was being undertaken at this practice was following National Clinical Assessment service advice. Safety and quality of service is our priority and so we will always investigate when complaints are received. This can be stressful for some but we try to work with providers to ensure the process runs smoothly.”