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Health scandal dentist back in practice, but only when supervised

By Victoria O'Hara

A senior dentist struck off after being at the centre of a major health scandal involving the recall of more than 100 patients has been allowed to practice again under strict supervision.

Professor Philip Lamey, who was a consultant in oral medicine at Belfast's Royal Victoria Hospital, was investigated in 2011 after he had 135 patients recalled when 35 of them developed cancer. Four of them died.

In 2014 Prof Lamey, who was also a former tutor to hundreds of Queen's University dental students, was found guilty of more than 100 charges of malpractice, and removed from the register.

On March 27 he won his appeal to have the decision to have him struck off quashed by the High Court.

The General Dental Council (GDC) has now enforced 12 strict conditions he must adhere to in order for him to practice.

These include:

  •  He must place himself and remain under the close supervision of a workplace supervisor nominated by him, and agreed by the GDC.
  •  Limit his clinical work to not more than four sessions per week.
  •  He must notify the GDC of any professional appointment he accepts and provide the contact details of his employer.

In September last year the General Dental Council struck Professor Lamey off the dental register and placed him under immediate suspension when it upheld 110 allegations of malpractice.

The allegations were investigated by the GDC's Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) which found him guilty of failing to diagnose cancer in patients and poor record keeping.

It had been recognised during the investigation that his professional isolation, lack of support and an unacceptably high workload - with just eight minutes allocated to each of the many patients referred to him - also contributed to his failings.

His appeal to the High Court claimed that there were errors in the decision to remove him from the dental register.

In a statement, the GDC said: "The GDC accepts that the PCC did make some errors in their decision and the Court (with the GDC's agreement) has ordered that the PCC's decision that Professor Lamey be erased from the Dentists' Register should be substituted with a six-month suspension order." This was to run until August 28, 2015 and reviewed before that date by the GDC.

During the new review on August 5 the committee said there was no suggestion that Prof Lamey be allowed to return to unrestricted practice at this stage.

It said it was satisfied that his fitness to practise remains "impaired by reason of the far reaching and serious nature of clinical failings, many of which could have had the most grave of consequences".

Belfast Telegraph


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