A DENTIST has been suspended for posting xenophobic comments online.

Ronald Gordon Pate, a now-retired dentist who was last registered as working at the Langley Dental Clinic and Implant Centre, has been suspended from his profession for four months following a hearing with the General Dental Council’s (GDC) Professional Conduct Committee.

Mr Pate was being investigated by the GDC for anti-Islamic comments he posted on a private message board.

Shortly after the Manchester terror attack in 2017, Mr Pate posted a comment on GDPUK.com, a website and mailing list for dental professionals, which read: “Continue with this appeasing woolly approach, and soon we will see Sharia Law recognised, a majority of Muslim MP’s and say goodbye to the country.

“Its time these sewers of towns were cleansed.”

In the hearing, which concluded last week, the GDC decided the last comment could easily be interpreted as a call for ethnic cleansing.

Mr Pate told the GDC his comments had been referring to Islamic terrorists, rather than all Muslims, although he accepted he may have written them ‘in haste and anger’.

He also argued the comments had been posted in a private message room not accessible to the public, however the GDC pointed out that GDPUK.com has 10,000 members and dentists are also members of the public.

The GDC further argued the comments were in breach of its code of conduct, which demands dentists to not publish anything that shakes public confidence in the dental profession, including on social media.

Mr Pate told the hearing that he was now retired, and they would be unable to prevent him from making more comments like this in the future, although he said this did not necessarily mean that he would do so. He said that on reflection he would not make the same comments again, ‘sewers of towns’ being a descriptor he would not repeat. He insisted that he would not make these comments in a public place or around patients. However, the GDC felt that Mr Pate had a ‘cavalier attitude’ towards his regulator, and there was a ‘high risk’ the behaviour would be repeated.

The GDC hearing determined that Mr Pate’s comments were ‘religiously offensive, inappropriate, and unprofessional’.

Dr Shazad Amin, CEO of Muslim Engagement and Development (MEND) said: “We welcome this decision from the General Dental Council, and hope it will send a strong message to all professionals that hate speech directed against minority groups, including Islamophobic abuse, will not be tolerated whether it is expressed in public or ‘private’ spaces.”

Mr Pate’s suspension will be reviewed at its end, at which point it may lapse or be extended.