Under attack dentist to sue health board

Belfast professor threatens to take his employer to court over investigation

One of Northern Ireland’s most senior dentists is threatening to sue a health trust and its medical director after being subjected to “one of the most unfair, intense and vitriolic media onslaughts in recent times”.

Professor Phillip Lamey has put Belfast Health and Social Care Trust and its director Dr Tony Stevens on notice of his intention to issue legal proceedings. His lawyer, Paul Tweed, also confirmed legal action is being considered over “totally inappropriate and unfounded defamatory statements released to the media”.

Prof Lamey, a specialist in oral medicine at Belfast Royal School of Dentistry, is at the centre of an independent investigation into how 15 cancer patients may have received late diagnoses. The Belfast Health and Social Care Trust has identified concerns over 22 patients, 15 of which had cancer, and recalled an additional 117 people to have their cases reviewed as a precautionary measure.

Mr Tweed continued: “Our client fully acknowledges the public’s entitlement to protection and transparency in relation to the provision of medical services and he has willingly co-operated at all times with investigations being conducted by the General Dental Council, and also the General Medical Council, whose findings Dr Stevens has refused to accept.

“Prof Lamey has been subjected to one of the most unfair, intense and vitriolic media onslaughts in recent times, notwithstanding the fact that the General Medical Council has found no evidence of malpractice on his part.”

Mr Tweed added: “Our client intends to vigorously defend his reputation and, in the first instance, he is seeking a categoric retraction and apology.”

Prof Lamey has been removed from his post and is due to face a hearing at the General Dental Council later this year.