Hundreds of dental patients advised to undergo blood tests amid infection control concerns
Hundreds of dental patients in Hertfordshire have been advised to undergo blood tests after concerns were raised about the use of unclean equipment.
Patients registered at [email protected] have been urged to have blood tests after it was confirmed that dirty instruments may have been used by one of the practice hygienists. Public Health England has launched an investigation into “potential breaches of infection control procedures.” A dental hygienist, who was employed by the practice as an independent practitioner, has been fired.
Letters have been sent to the hygienist’s patients, with those who have undergone dental ultrasonic scaling considered a priority.
Dr Vishal Shah, practice principal, said that a full-scale investigation was launched as soon as suspicions about the hygienist’s behaviour were raised. The matter was elevated to the relevant authorities and subsequently, patients were contacted. The letters are designed to make patients aware of the situation and to encourage them to have a blood test, but Dr Shah has stressed that the risk of contracting any kind of blood-borne infection is very small.
One patient who received the letter in the post said that she was “horrified and astounded” but grateful that the matter was dealt with swiftly by Dr Shah. The situation is likely to worry patients, especially those who have had ultrasonic scaling treatment, but a dedicated helpline has been set up to support those affected, and the practice team is also hand to answer questions and offer advice.