Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Dentist faces new investigation

The work of a dental consultant at the centre of a major health scare which resulted in over 100 patients being recalled to hospital is the focus of a fresh probe.

The General Medical Council (GMC) has said it is reviewing the work of Professor Philip Lamey — one of the UK’s top dentists — after new information came to light.

The regulatory body has not imposed any restrictions on Professor Lamey while the investigation takes place.

According to the GMC website, the dentist, a consultant in oral medicine at Belfast's Royal |Victoria Hospital, is still registered as a doctor and is licensed to practice.

A GMC spokeswoman said: “The Belfast Health & Social Care Trust referred Professor Lamey to the GMC at the end of 2009. We investigated the concerns and on the basis of the information available at that time we closed the case with no further action.

“We have now received new information and are in discussion with the Trust.”

Concerns over the work of Professor Lamey became public at the beginning of February when the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust issued a recall to 117 patients to the Royal Belfast School of Dentistry.

At the time, Dr Tony Stevens, medical director of the Trust, said the issue came to light in December 2009 when there were “immediate concerns” over 18 patients.

He said a number of those patients received a late cancer diagnosis and four of them have since died. “Three of them had mouth cancer and the fourth had a |different type of cancer,” he said.

The majority of 117 recalled patients have now been seen and nothing untoward has been found, a spokeswoman for the Trust has said. Details of the way the issue has been handled by the Trust have also been released by Health Minister Michael McGimpsey who has ordered a probe into the |matter.

In response to an Assembly question submitted by Willie Clarke MLA, Mr McGimpsey explained that two senior consultants undertook a review of 3,000 patients seen by Professor Lamey following a request by Dr Stevens.

He said the review began in January 2010 and was completed 10 months later on November 4.

Professor Lamey first registered with the GDC in 1977 after graduating from Edinburgh University. He registered with the GMC in 1982 after graduating from Glasgow University.

The handling of the matter has provoked a storm of criticism against management of the Belfast Trust.

Colm Donaghy, chief executive of the Trust, came under fire |for failing to inform the Stormont health committee about the |probe into the work of Professor Lamey.

The Belfast Telegraph also revealed Professor Lamey has been receiving a clinical excellence award of at least £55,924 a year since 2001.

The money was still paid to him even though the Belfast Trust referred him to the General Dental and General Medical councils due to concerns over his fitness to practice at the end of 2009.

Professor Lamey is still employed by the Belfast Trust and Queen’s University, but he is no longer treating patients or teaching students.

Background

The action taken by the Belfast Health & Social Care Trust to concerns over a consultant in oral medicine has come under the spotlight. Professor Philip Lamey has been stopped from treating patients but remains a trust employee. It has emerged while concerns were first raised in 2009, the trust waited 13 months before recalling patients who could be at risk.

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