Following the patient recall after serious allegations were made about Nottinghamshire dentist, Desmond D’Mello, a total of 4,526 patients were tested and 5 were newly-diagnosed with hepatitis C, according to the Nottingham Post. D’Mello has made national headlines in the recent past, when allegations of poor hygiene and standards were reported. This was followed by a recall of a staggering 22,000 patients, to test if they had been placed at risk of infection from blood borne viruses.
The initial results have indicated that only 5 patients have been newly diagnosed and NHS England is keen to stress that patient risk is low and that their findings don’t necessarily prove any wrongdoing of Mr D’Mello’s and are more in line with common numbers of hepatitis C in a given community. They also said that none of the patients tested so far were found to have hepatitis B or HIV.
Dr Doug Black, Medical Director for NHS England in Nottinghamshire, said: We have always been clear that the risk to patients was low, but we still had a duty to inform patients of this and offer the option for them to be tested. Treatments are available for all of the blood-borne viruses tested for, so we are pleased that these individuals have been identified and offered clinical support to aid their wellbeing.” He added that he would ensure that all of their findings are shared with the General Dental Council to inform their ongoing investigation into Mr D’Mello.
Dr Vanessa MacGregor, of Public Health England East Midlands, also commented on the announcement: “With such a high number of people being tested for hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV, the small number of positives that have been picked up as a result of screening is in line with what we would expect to see due to the very low prevalence of these blood-borne viruses within the community. Effective treatments are available for all blood-borne viruses, which is why it is important to identify anyone who may have been at risk of infection, so treatment can be started if necessary.”
Any former patients of Mr D’Mello who have not yet been tested, but still would like to be, are advised to contact their GP.