The death of a female patient, who received treatment at a dental practice from which more than 22,000 people have been recalled over infection fears, is being investigated by police.
Nottinghamshire Police confirmed officers were working to establish if there are any links between the 23-year-old’s death in August 2013 and the treatment she received at the former Daybrook Dental Practice in Gedling.
Inquiries were also carried out in the death of another woman, 29, who died in August 2013 following treatment at the surgery. No link between the treatment and her death was found.
Desmond D’Mello, who worked at the practice for more than 32 years, has been named as the dentist at the heart of an investigation into allegations of breaches of hygiene practice.
The investigation into his conduct began after a whistleblowerprovided covertly-filmed footage in June this year of Mr D’Mello using the same instruments for more than one patient without sterilising them and failing to wash his hands and change gloves.
Some 166 people, who featured in the footage, are considered to be at the greatest risk of infection.
Mr D’Mello has recently been tested for blood-borne viruses and has been found to be clear of infection, but his actions may have put patients at risk.
He was suspended for 18 months by the General Dental Council on 21 August and the Daybrook Dental Practice is now under new ownership.
NHS England says it is not possible to know how long he has been using inadequate infection control procedures so they are asking anyone who has been treated by him to contact them. The patients will all need to undergo a blood test.
It said if there had been any transfer of blood between patients there is a low risk of the spread of hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV.
In November last year, the Care Quality Commission(CQC) found the dental practice met standards for cleanliness and infection control.
The National Clinical Assessment Service also assessed Dr D’Mello in February this year and found he met its standards.
But a subsequent inspection by the CQC in July this year, made after the whistleblower came forward, found people were not being protected from infection or made safe from unsuitable equipment.
That report also found mops and buckets used for cleaning were being stored next to a staff toilet and instruments were found which were out of date.
Dr Doug Black, medical director for NHS England in Nottinghamshire, said: “In June this year, we at NHS England were contacted by a whistleblower who had concerns about the standards of clinical care being provided to patients.
“The whistleblower provided us with evidence to support these claims, including covertly-filmed footage of Mr D’Mello, which was filmed over a three-day period during early June this year.
“This footage appears to show multiple failures in cross-infection control standards whilst patients were undergoing dental treatment.”
He added: “We are extremely sorry for the undoubted worry and concern people may feel on hearing this news. I would like to stress again that the risk is low but would encourage anyone affected to contact the advice line.”
Dr Vanessa MacGregor, consultant in communicable disease control for Public Health England in the East Midlands, said: “We have worked hard to identify the potential risk to individuals who may have been at risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV and I would like to emphasise the risk of infection is low and that testing is being offered as a precautionary measure.”
:: A dedicated advice line as been set up on 03330 142479, open from 8am until 8pm seven days a week. A temporary clinic has also been set up at Arnold Health Centre in Arnold, Nottingham.