Probe into infection control at Scottish dental practices

Health board contacts patients after concerns raised

An investigation has been launched into infection control standards at two dental surgeries in Scotland.

NHS Ayrshire and Arran is writing to around 5,600 patients linked to the clinics in Millbank Lane, Cumnock; and Mill O’Shields Road in Drongan.

The professional standards set out by the General Dental Council provide a robust framework to hold registrants to account for compliance with decontamination standards

The investigation into the surgeries, which belong to one dental practice, found that some infection control precautions did not consistently meet the high standards expected of dental practices.

It concluded that the infection risk to patients ‘is very low’, but decided patients should know about the investigation.

A free telephone helpline has been set up to deal with any questions they may have.

Dr Elvira Garcia, consultant in public health medicine at the health board, said: "We have worked closely with local and national experts in this investigation and we have jointly concluded that the risk of infection to patients is very low and there is no need for patients to take any action.

"However, we believe that patients have a right to know, so we have written to them to ensure they are informed."

The health board asked the practice to close voluntarily while the investigation was carried out and infection control procedures were improved.

The practice co-operated with the investigation and will continue to be monitored, officials said. It has now reopened.

Simon Morrow, chairman of the area Dental Professional Committee, said: "While this is an independent dental practice, it is expected to comply with national infection control standards. The professional standards set out by the General Dental Council provide a robust framework to hold registrants to account for compliance with decontamination standards. NHS Ayrshire & Arran has checks and processes in place to ensure that improvements are made and the safety of our patients is not compromised."

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