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Legal Advice on the Dental Patient Recall

A Nottinghamshire dentist was today suspended and triggered the largest patient recall notice in UK history, with 22,000 residents potentially at risk as a result of serious medical negligence. Hopkins Solicitors are now taking special measures to ensure that anyone affected by the recall is receiving the appropriate support and legal advice.

Desmond D’Mello was a dentist working at the Daybrook Dental Surgery in Arnold – he was suspended this week after an investigation found he failed to wash his hands or change gloves between patients. This leaves his 22,000 patients at risk of contracting blood-borne viruses. The most prevalent blood-borne viruses include HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. NHS England has taken advice from experts and are urging patients of this dental surgery to be screened for these illnesses – the risk of infection is deemed to be very low, but many residents are naturally experiencing panic and distress at these revelations.

Ian Corbett, Partner at Hopkins Solicitors and expert in the legal implications of serious medical negligence, states, “Obviously it’s very early stages, and we are all waiting to see how the case develops, but it’s understandably a very worrying time for upto 22,000 residents of Nottinghamshire. My advice to people is to get tested as soon as possible. In the vast majority of cases, patients will be unaffected, but if anyone has contracted a blood infection after receiving dental treatment at this practice, they would have a clear cut case for serious medical negligence and should immediately contact a solicitor for advice.”

He adds, “In addition, people learning this news could develop psychiatric illnesses as a result of worrying that they may have contracted a serious infection. That type of claim would be more difficult to pursue, but certainly worth exploring for anyone who has been significantly affected by the revelations today.”

The news came to light after a whistle-blower filmed covert footage within the practice and caught the dentist in question engaging in negligible medical practice. A Care Quality Commission inspection in July had also raised concerns about the possibility of cross-contamination at the practice, where staff toilets were used as equipment storage rooms, and instruments were often left unsterilized.

While many experts say that there is ‘little to no risk’ of contracting serious illnesses like HIV as a result of the negligence, a leader from the British Dental Association said that the recall was a sensible precaution. A hotline and a community clinic have been set up today in Nottingham to help deal with any questions or queries, and Hopkins Solicitors are available to offer Legal Advice on the Dental Patient Recall to anyone that has been affected.

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