Belfast report published

Investigation launched in 2011 produces long-awaited report into failures of care

The full report into the level of care at the Royal Dental Hospital in Belfast has finally been published by the Department of Health.

The inquiry was launched in 2011 after the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust announced that 117 dental patients were being recalled for check-ups as a precautionary measure, following a review of the clinical performance of a senior oral medicine consultant.

The consultant, Professor Philip Lamey, is currently under investigation by the General Dental Council charged with 46 counts of inadequate patient management relating to 33 different patients. He is due back in front of the GDC on 21 October after the initial hearing, that began on 18 February, was adjourned part-heard on 8 March. The substantive hearing is due to be concluded on 15 November.

The Department of Health report was published in summary in June 2011 but final publication was delayed due to a number of regulatory processes not being complete. The final report has led to a 42-point action plan that Health Minister Edwin Poots has said should be completed or ongoing by September 2014.

In a statement to the Assembly, he said: “This should not have happened and I want to ensure that it never happens again.

“This (report) highlights that there were serious deficiencies in the quality of care provided by the Oral Medicine Department of the Dental Hospital and Belfast HSC Trust to the patients recalled, which did impact adversely on the health of some.

“I hope that implementation of the action plan will help address the concerns that this incident has raised and that it improves public confidence in the Belfast Dental Hospital.”

A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust said: “Belfast Trust regrets that a number of patients experienced care below the standard we would have expected.

“We have separately apologised to those patients. We also regret that some people were caused undue anxiety as a result of being called back for further review.”