Court is told of £10,000 dentist’s fraud

A DENTIST has gone on trial accused of submitting false claims for treatment carried out on NHS patients.

Mohammed Ashraf, 43, of Rydal Croft, Greenroyd Avenue, Halifax – who runs a practice in Bradford – has denied two allegations of making false representations.

He has also pleaded not guilty to a third allegation that he stole just over £1,600 that belonged to Bradford and Airedale Primary Care Trust.

Opening the three-week trial to a jury at Bradford Crown Court, prosecutor Simon Clegg said Ashraf, who owned and operated the Great Horton Road Dental Practice, was arrested in January 2009 in relation to allegations of fraud.

Mr Clegg alleged the frauds were committed between 2006 and 2008 and cost the NHS around £10,000. The jury heard that Ashraf’s contract with the NHS amounted to £357,403 a year and he was paid that sum in 12 monthly installments.

In return Ashraf had to carry out over 14,000 “units” of dental activity through his surgery, with more complicated treatments being awarded more units than a simple check-up.

Mr Clegg stressed that the system relied on the honesty of the dentist when they submitted claims for treatment to the Dental Services Division based in Eastbourne, and he said the allegations related to the treatment Ashraf gave his patients and what he told the NHS.

“This system manifestly relies on and depends on the honesty of the dentist,’’ said Mr Clegg.

“They are trusted to accurately input the type of work that has been done.’’

The court heard that between March 2007 and April 2008 Ashraf allegedly submitted claims for treatment that had not been carried out on patients.

Between October 2006 and April 2008 he was said to have made claims for more complicated work than that provided.

“The prosecution say there have been a number of times when Mr Ashraf has claimed for things as being in Band 3 when they shouldn’t have been. They should have been Band 2,’’ said Mr Clegg.

“He has been deliberately overstating the seriousness of the treatment that he gave and claiming it was in Band 3 when in fact under the NHS guidelines it was Band 2.’’

The trial continues.