‘Vital’ That Patients Receive Care and Support
Specialist lawyers at Irwin Mitchell have spoken of their concern after more than 560 patients at a dental surgery were urged to get HIV tests because of unclean equipment.
Public Health England has written to 563 people on behalf of Dentality @ Hoddesdon in Hertfordshire saying they may be at risk of infections including HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
It comes after a dental hygienist did not sterilise an ultrasonic scaler – a piece of equipment which removes plaque from teeth.
The surgery said it “always puts patients first,” reports the Mail Online.
Meanwhile Public Health England said although there was a chance patients could have an infection, it believed the risk was very low and testing was being offered as a “precaution”.
Specialist dental health lawyers at Irwin Mitchell said that although Public Health England said the chance of infection was low it was important that a full investigation was carried out.
Expert Opinion“It is reassuring that Public Health England has advised that the risk of infection is low and testing is being carried out as a precaution, however, this news is likely to cause concern amongst the patients affected.
“Patient safety should always be the priority for all health practitioners. We hope that this case acts as a reminder of the importance why hygiene standards need to be upheld at all times.
“To help maintain public confidence in the health service it is vital that a full and transparent investigation into the potential issues that have been highlighted is conducted.
“It is also important that in the unlikely event that any patients are found to be infected they are aware of and receive the care and support they need.” Gurpinder Chana - Solicitor
The mistake was discovered in January but it took three months for health officials to act after they were informed of the blunder.
The self-employed hygienist no longer works with the practice but is able to continue in her job under monitoring.