GENERAL DENTAL COUNCIL
PROFESSIONAL CONDUCT COMMITTEE
Nolan, Robert Alan
Registration No: 63649
Robert Alan Nolan registered as of 1 Crantock Close, Halewood, Liverpool, L26 0XG; BDS
Lpool 1988; was summoned to appear before the Professional Conduct Committee on 22
July 2010 for inquiry into the following charge:
That, being a registered Dentist:
1. You failed to co-operate fully with the Council’s investigation into your fitness to
practise in that:
(a) you were requested by way of letter dated 4th November 2009 from the Council
to attend a medical examination;
(b) you did not attend a pre-arranged appointment for a medical examination with
Dr Audrey Oppenheim, Consultant Psychiatrist, on Saturday 9th January 2010 at
(c) you did not make any alternative arrangements to be seen by Dr Audrey
And that in relation to the facts alleged at paragraph 1 above your fitness to practise is
impaired by reason of your misconduct.
(a) On 25th November 2008, you were tried and convicted at Liverpool Crown Court
on 20 counts of obtaining a money transfer by deception, contrary to Section
15A of the Theft Act 1968;
(b) you were sentenced on 16th January 2009 to a term of imprisonment of 36
weeks suspended for 18 months, with a community order requirement of 300
hours, a curfew requirement for 3 months and prosecution costs of £1,500.00;
And that in relation to the facts alleged at paragraph 2 above your fitness to practise is
impaired by reason of your conviction.
Findings of fact
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The Committee has taken into account all the evidence presented to it. It has accepted the
advice of the Legal Adviser. In accordance with that advice it has considered each head of
I will now announce the Committee’s findings in relation to each head of charge:
1(a). Found proved
1(b). Found proved
1(c). Found proved
2(a). Found proved
2(b). Found proved
We move to Stage Two.
Mr Nolan was neither present, nor was he represented at today’s hearing. The Committee
was satisfied by a telephone attendance note dated 15 July 2010 and a letter dated 20 July
2010 that Mr Nolan was aware of these proceedings and had voluntarily absented himself.
The Committee noted that Mr Nolan had stated in a telephone conversation that he had no
objection to the hearing taking place in his absence. The Committee determined that it was
reasonable to proceed.
The Committee has considered all of the information before it, including the submissions
you have made on behalf of the General Dental Council (GDC). It has accepted the advice
of the Legal Adviser.
On 25 November 2008 Mr Nolan was convicted on 20 counts of obtaining a money transfer
by deception. He was sentenced on 16 January 2009 to a term of imprisonment of 36
weeks suspended for 18 months, with a community order requirement of 300 hours, a
curfew requirement for 3 months and prosecution costs of £1500.00.
Standards for Dental Professionals states that dentists should:
6.1 Justify the trust that your patients, the public and your colleagues have in you by
always acting honestly and fairly.
6.2 Apply these principles to clinical and professional relationships, and any business
or educational activities you are involved in.
6.3 Maintain appropriate standards of personal behaviour in all walks of life so that
patients have confidence in you and the public have confidence in the dental
The public and the profession is entitled to be able to trust a dentist. Mr Nolan’s dishonesty
was a fundamental breach of this trust. The Committee finds that Mr Nolan’s fitness to
practise is impaired by reason of the conviction.
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The Committee found that Mr Nolan failed to co-operate fully with an investigation into his
fitness to practise relating to health matters. Despite agreeing to attend a medical
appointment with Dr Oppenheim, which he confirmed the day before, he failed to attend
and did not make any alternative arrangements to be seen by her.
The Committee had regard to the standards guidance issued by the GDC, Principles of
Raising Concerns, with particular reference to the following:
1.1 The duty to put patients’ interests first and act to protect them must override
personal and professional loyalties.
1.3 This responsibility includes making sure that you:
co-operate fully with any procedure for investigating concerns which applies to
The Committee found that Mr Nolan breached this guidance and that breach constituted
misconduct. He is impaired by reason of his misconduct
Sanction for Impairment relating to Conviction and Misconduct
The Committee was mindful of its duty to act proportionately and to balance Mr Nolan’s
interests against the public interest.
The Committee was unable to find any evidence of insight on Mr Nolan’s part and there
was little in the way of mitigation.
The Committee determined that due to the serious nature of Mr Nolan’s misconduct and
conviction, it would be inappropriate to conclude the case with or without a reprimand.
It next considered conditions, but for the same reasons concluded this would be
The Committee next considered suspension. It had regard to the sentencing remarks of
Judge Morrow, made at Mr Nolan’s conviction hearing in relation to his behaviour:
“This was calculated, blatant and persistent dishonesty carried out over a significant
period of time. The money which you received dishonestly ought to have been used for
patient care and your actions have undermined the public’s confidence in dentists
generally to the disadvantage of others who are honest and entirely professional.”
The Committee endorses these comments and recognises that, as stated in the Guidance
to the Professional Conduct Committee (November 2009):
“certain behaviours are so damaging to a registrant’s fitness to practise and to public
confidence in dental professionals that removal of their professional status is the
The Committee viewed the dishonesty displayed by Mr Nolan’s convictions as behaviour
which is incompatible with registration. It bore in mind the comments of Lord Bingham in
Bolton v Law Society:
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“The reputation of the profession is more important than the fortunes of any individual
member. Membership of a profession brings many benefits, but that is a part of the
In this case the Committee determined that the public interest in maintaining the reputation
of the profession outweighs the interests of Mr Nolan.
The Committee has determined that suspension would not be the proportionate sanction to
address the issues raised by this case. It has therefore determined to erase the name of
Robert Alan Nolan from the Dentists Register.
The Committee is minded to consider imposing an order for immediate suspension, but first
wishes to hear your representations on the matter.
The Committee has considered your submissions and has concluded that it is necessary in
the public interest to impose an order for the immediate suspension of the name of Robert
Alan Nolan. The effect of the foregoing direction and order is that Mr Nolan’s name will be
suspended from the Dentists Register from when notification is deemed served upon him
and, unless he exercises his right of appeal, his name will be erased 28 days from the date
That concludes the case.
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