Patients offered blood tests after treatment by hygienist

Patients offered blood tests after treatment by hygienist

Hundreds of dental patients have been offered blood tests over fears they could have been exposed to HIV or Hepatitis B or C. Unsterile equipment may have been used to treat 563 patients of a dental hygienist formerly working at Dentality, in Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire. Public Health England said it was investigating "potential breaches of infection control procedures".

Letters have been sent to all the Hertfordshire practice’s patients who are understood to have received dental ultrasonic scaling from the self-employed hygienist, Ekta Parikh. The practice said the independently contracted hygienist had been dismissed following an investigation. A Public Health England statement said equipment used by Ms Parikh "was potentially not cleaned adequately" but the risk to patients was "extremely low".

In February the Interim Orders Committee of the General Dental Council ruled that there are significant concerns at this time to require an interim order for the protection of the public. The Committee determined to impose an interim order of conditions on Ms Parikh’s registration for a period of 18 months. Amongst these were a requirement not carry out decontamination processes unless in the presence of a registered dental professional.

Principal dentist at the practice, Dr Vishaal Shah said: "As soon as we became aware of behaviour from a hygienist that did not meet the rigorous standards we expect from our entire team, we immediately launched a full investigation, and escalated the matter to all key authorities. We understand anyone receiving these letters will have concerns and while there is an extremely low risk of exposure, all these patients are being offered detailed information, and a dedicated number to call to book an appointment for blood testing as a precaution and get further advice."

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