30 August 2013
NI 'malpractice' dentist loses legal bid
A senior dentist in Northern Ireland (NI) facing a number of malpractice allegations has failed in a legal bid that would have blocked a meeting that could see him fired from taking place.
Professor Philip Lamey had sought an injunction from the High Court that would have stopped Belfast Health Trust from making a decision about his future employment status, according to the Belfast Telegraph.
But Mr Justice Deeney chose to rule that the body was completely in its rights to consider the viability of his position before the outcome of a General Dental Council (GDC) hearing takes place.
Professor Lamey, a senior consultant at the Royal Dental Hospital in Belfast and a lecturer at Queen's University, is currently facing malpractice complaints from 33 different patients, but thoroughly denies all of the allegations put against.
A misconduct hearing that will decide the NI dentist's fate is set to resume in October 2013.
But even though Professor Lamey was excluded from his duties for almost three years - he continued to practice privately, as the Royal Dental Hospital's remit does not cover non-publicly funded operations and procedures.
However, even though the Belfast-dentist was able to carry on his work - the judgement delivered by Justice Deeney this week will be a huge blow for the expert.
When handing down his verdict, Deeney said: "This is a public body discharging important public duties. It would be quite wrong to prevent them holding a meeting which might lead to the termination of his contract."
The High Court judge also acknowledged that even though any decision to dismiss the dentist before a GDC ruling could breach guidelines, he was satisfied that Professor Lamey would have other legal avenues to complain about this.
When choosing to refuse the Northern Irish expert's call for an injunction, Justice Deeney was recorded as stating: "These are very onerous undertakings. It seems to me to amply justify the trust in addressing the position of Prof Lamey without awaiting the outcome of the GDC hearing."
The case continues.
By Francesca Witney
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