A SENIOR Northern Ireland dentist facing widespread malpractice allegations against 33 patients is continuing to practise privately, a court has heard.
Professor Philip Lamey yesterday failed in a legal bid to block a meeting which could see him dismissed from a job with the Belfast Health Trust.
But the High Court was told that while Prof Lamey has been excluded from working at the trust for nearly three years, as he faces 46 counts of malpractice, he has been doing private work.
Prof Lamey was seeking a High Court injunction restraining the trust from deciding his future employment while misconduct proceedings are ongoing.
But Mr Justice Deeny ruled that the authority was justified in wanting to determine his position without having to wait for the outcome of a General Dental Council (GDC) hearing.
He 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 dentist, a professor at Queen's University and senior consultant at the Royal Dental Hospital in Belfast, is accused of 46 counts of malpractice against 33 different patients. He denies the allegations, and adjourned proceedings in the misconduct hearing are due to resume in October.
Prof Lamey issued his legal action after being asked by the trust to attend a meeting last month.
His lawyers claimed the move was fuelled by a media outcry, arguing that it was unfair to step in halfway through the GDC case.
But counsel for the trust identified alleged admissions about record-keeping failures and stressed the potential impact of continuing to employ the dentist must be considered.
Mr Justice Deeny declined to award costs.
Professor Philip Lamey was removed from his job at Belfast's Royal School of Dentistry in 2011 following serious concerns about his work.
The move followed the recall of 117 dental patients for check-ups after a review of his performance. The senior figure is currently facing proceedings from the General Dental Council in London. He denies 46 charges.