Some 22,000 virus risk dentist patients recalled in UK

Some 22,000 virus risk dentist patients recalled in UK

Some 22,000 patients of a British dentist are to be recalled for tests to see if they have been infected with blood-borne viruses, including HIV, in what is believed to be the biggest ever recall in UK medical history.

The recall affects all patients who were treated by Desmond D'Mello, who worked at Daybrook Dental Surgery in Nottingham over a 32-year period.

The National Health Service (NHS) said it appeared D'Mello failed to wash his hands and used the same instruments for more than one patient without sterilising the instruments between patients.

The allegations surrounding D'Mello came after a whistleblower secretly filmed him treating 166 patients over a period of three days in June, British media reports said.

D'Mello has been tested and is not HIV positive, the NHS said. "Patients seen by Mr D'Mello appear to have been placed at a possible low risk of infection from blood-borne infections, due to multiple failures in cross infection control measures," a spokesman of NHS said.

A Care Quality Commission inspection in July also raised concerns about the possibility of cross-contamination at the practice.

The report said the staff toilet and another room were being used as store rooms for equipment.

"This posed a risk of these items coming into contact with body fluids which may be contaminated," the report said. Inspectors said new owners of the practice had renovated the property and addressed all the concerns.

Dr Doug Black of NHS England said: "We are extremely sorry for the undoubted worry and concern that people may feel on hearing this news.

"I would like to stress again that the risk is low but would encourage anyone affected to contact the advice line," the BBC quoted Black as saying. The NHS has written separately to the 166 patients who were captured on camera in the secret filming to explain what has happened.

A hotline and a community clinic have been set up in Nottingham to handle any questions from affected people.

Amarjit Gill, of the British Dental Association, said the recall was "a sensible precaution".

Dentists use disinfection methods and wear gloves and masks as well as giving protective masks to patients, he said.

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