A senior consultant being investigated over his work at Belfast's Royal School of Dentistry is threatening to sue a health trust and its medical director.
Professor Phillip Lamey has put Dr Tony Stevens and the Belfast Health and Social Care Trust on notice of his intention to issue legal proceedings.
He is also seeking a retraction and apology for being subjected to what his solicitor described as “one of the most unfair, intense and vitriolic media onslaughts in recent times”.
Prof Lamey, an oral medicine specialist, is the subject of an inquiry into events which led to the precautionary recall of more than 100 patients. Concerns had been raised following the late diagnosis of cancer in some cases.
Prof Lamey's lawyer, Paul Tweed of Johnsons Solicitors, confirmed the legal steps now being taken over “totally inappropriate and unfounded defamatory statements released to the media”.
Mr Tweed said: “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 have 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.”
A spokeswoman for the Belfast Trust said they had no comment to make.