Health chiefs have launched the biggest patient recall in the history of the NHS as it is feared that thousands could be infected with blood-borne viruses including HIV.
It is thought that over 22,000 patients are thought to be affected and will be recalled to undergo tests after being treated by a dentist who did not follow proper procedures over a 32 year period. The dentist was suspended in June after a whistle-blower secretly filmed him showing that he breached infection control standards.
An investigation has been launched after viewing the footage and officials from Public Health England have been called in who carried out a risk assessment and concluded that patients may have been placed at risk of infection from blood-borne viruses. Additionally the dentist, who has not yet been named, was also allegedly responsible for multiple failures in cross-infection control standards that left health officials “horrified”.
Sian Thompson, Solicitor at the Medical Accident Group said: “This dentist was suspended back in August so questions will be asked as to why it’s taken NHS England three months to make this public appeal. NHS England bosses have apparently been trying to track down all former patients to warn them that they need to be screened. The public will feel let down that they have effectively been kept in the dark about something that could have devastating consequences and the outcome of these screenings could potentially open the floodgates to thousands of claims against NHS England. It is vital that anyone treated by this dentist who is recalled comes forward and is tested without delay, and while the risk of infection is low, the advice is that everyone affected should be screened and the public must be aware of the need to take action.”
An emergency walk-in centre is being set up in Nottinghamshire to deal with an expected deluge of worried patients along with a separate telephone hotline, open seven days a week, which has also been set up to advise and reassure people who were treated at the practice.
A press conference is being held later today when more information will be released.
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