A DENTIST is suing a former patient for £50,000 over false allegations that he claims damaged his professional reputation.
Keith Watson was investigated by the dentists’ governing body, the General Dental Council (GDC), in 2010 after a number of allegations were made against him by a patient, Andrew McIntosh.
After a full hearing in London, Mr Watson, who worked at the Discovery Dental Centre in Dundee, was cleared of all misconduct charges.
Now he has lodged a defamation action against Mr McIntosh for £50,000, arguing that as a result of the case he had “suffered injury to his feelings, standing and professional reputation”.
He said the unfounded claims against him had damaged his reputation because they had been reported in the press when the case was heard by the GDC.
The action claims that Mr McIntosh had not been to the dentist for several years and his teeth were described as being in a poor condition when Mr Watson agreed to treat him.
According to the writ lodged at court: “During the final visit on 13 April 2010, Mr McIntosh became aggressive and abusive towards the pursuer. He was asked to leave the surgery.
“He contacted police and made false, inflammatory comments to them about the pursuer. He contacted the General Dental Council.
“He claimed the pursuer began shouting and swearing at him and that he was assaulted by the pursuer, who pushed him to the door of the surgery.”
However, at the hearing on 2 September 2010, Mr Watson was exonerated. “Each and all of the allegations were untrue and defamatory,” the writ states. “The statements caused, and continue to cause, distress. The allegations have caused him considerable personal and professional upset.”
Neither of the parties was present in court and the case was continued until March for Mr McIntosh, from Invergowrie, to seek legal aid to defend the action.
At the hearing in London, Mr McIntosh had told the GDC his dentist had been “verbally aggressive and inappropriate” and told him to shut up or “get the f*** out” when he complained of pain during treatment.
He claimed he had been left in tears because the dental surgeon had laughed at him and called him a “moaner” during the incident.
But the GDC panel ruled that Mr McIntosh was an “unreliable witness” and cleared Mr Watson of misconduct.
After being cleared, Mr Watson, of Dundee, said he had feared his patients would believe the allegations.
“I am very relieved that the allegations made against me were found by the GDC to be untrue and I am grateful to them for realising that the patient was not a credible witness and his evidence was unreliable,” he said.
The GDC can use a range of punishments if a dentist is found guilty of misconduct, from public censure to temporary suspension.
The most severe is erasure, when a dentist is removed from the Dental Professional Register altogether.
Mr Watson said: “Mr McIntosh deserves what’s coming to him.”
Mr McIntosh, who is a music promoter, was unavailable for comment yesterday.