Thu, 9 Aug, 2018Danielle McCarthy

10,000 Aussie dental patients urged to get blood tests for HIV and hepatitis

10,000 Aussie dental patients urged to get blood tests for HIV and hepatitis

Health experts have urged up to 10,000 dental patients in Sydney to get tested for serious blood-borne diseases, including HIV, after a dentist was found to be breaching hygiene standards.

NSW Health has warned patients of dentist Dr James Pok-Yan Ng, who worked in Ramsay St, Haberfield, to visit a GP for blood tests.

Any patients who have ever visited the Haberfield dentist in the past 35 years, even if they saw a different dentist, have also been encouraged to get screened.

The Dental Council suspects up to 10,000 patients may be affected by the hygiene breach.

In July, an investigation found evidence of filthy dental equipment and a poor practice environment.

Acting director of Sydney Local Health District’s Public Health Unit, Dr Zaina Najjar, said so far, no patients had acquired a blood-borne virus because of the dental clinic.

“Precautionary testing for hepatitis B, C, and HIV is recommended for anyone who attended the clinic over the past 35 years, especially those who had invasive procedures,” Dr Najjar said.

“This would have involved a needle or other instrument piercing the skin, gums or tooth root, or where bleeding may have occurred, but we recommend any patient of this practice sees their GP.”

“The council carries out inspections of dental practices when a complaint is made which raises a possible concern about compliance with our infection control guidelines,” said Dental Council of NSW president Dr Shane Fryer.

“Overwhelmingly, the majority of dental practitioners comply with infection control guidelines, procedures and obligations but if anyone has concerns, we urge you to contact the HCCC or the Dental Council.”

Dr Pok-Yan Ng has since had his registration suspended and has been barred from practicing as a dentist in Australia.