Close-up of woman having dental examination
Close-up of woman having dental examination

Hundreds who visited Qld dental clinic at risk of infection

HUNDREDS of patients of a Cairns dental clinic will be tested for HIV and other diseases, after the private clinic was shutdown by health officials for sloppy infection control.

Queensland Health and the Office of the Health Ombudsman have identified problems with infection control practices at Essential Dental for Life, at Campus Shopping Village at Smithfield.

The clinic was shutdown by authorities last month, after a patient complained to the Ombudsman about inadequate infection control standards at the private clinic.

The clinic has about 550 patients on its books, and ceased practising last month.

The Cairns Tropical Public Health Unit will identify and contact people who were treated at the clinic since March 2018 to discuss testing for blood borne diseases, including viruses such as HIV and hepatitis C.

Essential Dental has been shutdown by health authorities due to sloppy infection control
Essential Dental has been shutdown by health authorities due to sloppy infection control

Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service medical services executive director, Dr Don Mackie, told reporters the risk of disease transmission was "very small."

"We're contacting all the patients and giving them the opportunity to come in for free clinic testing, or to go and see their GP," he said.

"We're also opening up the 13 HEALTH hotline for people to call, for further information."

He said a positive result for one of the infections may not necessarily mean patients were infected at the dental clinic.

"In the unlikely event a patient tests positive for one of these infections, early diagnosis and treatment by appropriate medical specialists can prevent serious health complications and prevent transmission to others," he said.

Essential Dental for Life has been contacted for comment.