Desmond D'Mello: High Court bid to extend dentist's suspension
The dentist at the centre of the "biggest recall in NHS history" could be suspended for another few months to give experts more time to investigate.
Desmond D'Mello from Nottingham was originally suspended in August 2014 over hygiene concerns.
About 22,000 patients were recalled and many tested for HIV and hepatitis.
The General Dental Council (GDC) said it would be applying to the High Court to extend the statutory 18-month suspension, which expires in February.
Following Mr D'Mello's suspension in August 2014, a total of 4,526 patients from the Daybrook Dental Practice were screened for blood-borne viruses.
Alleged failings of Mr D'Mello include reusing dirty gloves and failing to decontaminate dental instruments.
A GDC spokesperson said: "It is not unusual for the GDC to apply for an extension to an interim order. The committee are subject to a statutory maximum duration of 18 months, which while being our target timeframe to complete our investigation and start a hearing, it is often not possible to do so.
"The Interim Orders Committee (IOC) reviewed the suspension order on 21 December 2015 and considered that the suspension should continue on the basis of public interest and protection of patients. On that basis, the GDC is in the process of applying to the High Court for an extension to the order."
The date of Mr D'Mello's GDC hearing has still to be decided.
The most severe sanction available to the council would be a ban on practising dentistry in the UK for five years.