NSW Labor has demanded that NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard spell out how the Berejiklian Government was going to contact thousands of patients – over the last 35 years – who had been in contact with a Haberfield dental practice – which had breached multiple infection control procedures.
NSW Health is now urging patients – who have been at the clinic in the last 35 years – to get precautionary testing for hepatitis B, C and HIV.
The warning related – especially – to patients who underwent a procedure where an instrument pierced the skin, gums or tooth root or where bleeding may have occurred. However, NSW Health stressed that the risk to patients was low but it was a precautionary measure.
NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord was referring to the announcement today by the Sydney Local Health District that Dr James Pok-Yan Ng of the 90 Ramsay Street, Haberfield clinic had been found to have breached multiple infection control practices and was suspended.
Mr Secord said while NSW Health had set up a hotline – 1 800 610 344, he had a number of concerns including:
- What proactive steps is the Berejiklian Government taking to notify affected patients who had been treated at the dental clinic?
- What steps was the Berejiklian Government taking to notify patients who may have moved inter-State or overseas?
- What steps was the Berejiklian Government taking to support patients who are unable to seek urgent testing?
- When did the Berejiklian Government first find out about concerns relating to the practice?
In 2015, four private Sydney dental clinics were found to have breached multiple infection control procedures. They were the Gentle Dentist at both Campsie and the Sydney CBD; and the Bondi Junction and Surry Hills clinics of Dr Robert Craige Starkenburg.
Quotes attributable to Member for Summer Hill, Jo Haylen
“The first priority must be linking patients with information and I encourage anyone who visited this clinic to call the hotline on 1800 610 344.
“Patients want certainty that they and their families have not been put at risk – and part of that is having confidence that the Government has taken every precautionary step and is doing everything it can for patients now.
I have made contact with the Minister’s office and also put a series of urgent questions to him and his department seeking information about these shocking revelations and for answers as to how this has been going on for decades.”
Quotes attributable to Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord
“Unfortunately, there is a culture of cover-up in the NSW Government. NSW Health says that patients who had been at this particular clinic over the last 35 years should get tested. That is extraordinary.
“Patients who have been at this clinic need to be properly supported. A hotline is a first step, but the Berejiklian Government has been caught off-guard again on a major public health matter.
“This is happening far too often in NSW.
“I hope the Berejiklian Government has not been sitting on its hands.”