Profession called to help young dentist stand against unfair allegations

Dental profession called to stand togetherA young dentist who tried to take a stand against one patient’s unfair allegations needs the profession’s help after being hit with huge legal fees.

And his peers – a group set up by concerned dentists – are now calling for donations to help pay the £10,000 legal bill facing Dr Keith Watson after he tried to fight back against false claims made about his professional conduct.

Dr Watson was cleared of all wrongdoing at a fitness to practise hearing held by the General Dental Council (GDC). He subsequently pursued a £50,000 defamation case against patient Andrew McIntosh but was forced to abandon it when the case dragged on and costs spiralled.

The young dentist is understood to have pursued the defamation case in order to raise awareness of a patient who has pursued similar claims – which have all proven baseless – against other dentists in the past.

Dr Watson endured months of having his name and reputation publicly questioned in the press before being cleared by the GDC, which found the patient to be an ‘unreliable’ witness’.

But the decision to stand up for himself has cost the young dentist dearly.

Mr McIntosh was eligible for legal aid but turned his fees into private fees of more than £10,000 when Dr Watson dropped the case and became eligible to pay the defendant’s costs under Scottish law.

The profession has been swift to gather around Dr Watson and his cause. Several thousand pounds have already been raised to help him pay the bill but more support is still needed.

Donations can be made online via the link here, or going directly to


  1. 1

    This stuff boils my p155. Once a patient is a proven liar then they MUST be liable to be sued for defamation etc. I have made sure all younger members of my family do NOT even consider dentistry as a ‘professional career’ in their worst nightmares, furthermore I just ‘plod on’ ensuring I invest as much as I possibly can in pensions so I can kick the whole rotten edifice into touch about 3 seconds after my 55th birthday. I’ll sell my practice to some mega-corps, staffed by assorted East Europeans. Roll on retirement!

  2. 2

    Litigation such as this can be funded through litigation agencies. If the GDC has found in favour of the dentist and the dentist has lost his job then it would appear there could be an additional case for unfair dismissal as well as a defamation cade against a vexatious complainant ?

    In a democracy we have a right to defend ourselves robustly; in fact I would go on to say we have a duty to defend ourselves robustly against defamation. It is only by adopting this demand for accountability that an equitable system can be created that is fair for both patient and doctor. Thus both parties are protected by Law.

    Currently this situation does not exist in the UK and until it does, more doctors will be bashed and careers ruined. Patients have no right to behave with impunity, and the same may be said for doctors.
    So I suggest that this case should not be dropped if legal opinion is that success is likely. I would take the case to a litigation agency with a request for funding and demonstrate resolve of the profession to seek justice and restitution.
    Only then may we have a chance to finally end the open season on doctors.
    This is in everyone’s interest.

  3. 3

    This case should not be dropped.
    I would advise the dentist to contact a litigation funding agency. If the GDC has demonstrated no case to answer and the doctor has lost his job, there should be a case of unfair dismissal and defamation.
    It is only if these cases are fought that an end to the open season on doctors is possible.
    The BDA and BMA need to be proactive and vocal in their support. If they decide to priciest in a self funding litigation funding agency role for members this would enhance their standing within the professions.

  4. 4

    Docholliday: big respect to you. I only wish all dentists felt the way you (and I) do. Maybe then we wouldn’t be in such a cluster £U€K.

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