WARNING: Dental Patients Urged To Undergo Blood Tests For Hepatitis B, C and HIV

Precautionary tests are being recommended for anyone who was treated at the Sydney practice in the last 35 years.

What you need to know
  • Patients of a dental clinic in Sydney's inner-west are being urged to visit their GP and be tested for blood-borne viruses
  • The recommendation from the Sydney Local Health District comes after the dentist was suspended from practice
  • Anyone who was treated at the clinic in the last 35 years is being asked to take precautionary tests

Patients of a dental practice at Haberfield in Sydney's inner-west are being advised to visit their GP to be tested for blood-borne viruses, following the dentist's suspension from practice.

Dr James Pok-Yan Ng was suspended after an inspection confirmed concerns  that cleaning and sterilisation practices at the Haberfield surgery breached Dental Board of Australia guidelines.

Patients who have been treated at the clinic in the last 35 years are being asked to take precautionary tests for Hepatitis B, C and HIV.

The Sydney Local Health District added that patients who have undergone invasive procedures at the practice are particularly being urged to visit their GP.

“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,” SLHD acting director Dr Zeina Najjar said.

Najjar said no patients linked to the practice had yet been identified with blood-borne virus infections and insisted the risk of infection was relatively low.

But on Wednesday NSW Labor demanded the state government explain how it was going to contact and support the thousands of patients who have attended the dental practice over the last three decades.

Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said it was happening "far too often" in NSW, with four private Sydney dental clinics found to be in breach of multiple infection control procedures in 2015 .

“Patients who have been at this clinic need to be properly supported," Secord said in a statement.

"A hotline is a first step, but the Berejiklian Government has been caught off-guard again on a major public health matter."

On Wednesday, President of the Dental Council of NSW, Dr Shane Fryer insisted that the majority of dental practitioners comply with the guidelines.

“Overwhelmingly, the majority of dental practitioners comply with infection control guidelines, procedures and obligations," Fryer said.

"If anyone has concerns, we urge you to contact the HCCC or the Dental Council."

If you have questions about the public health risk, please contact hotline number 1800 610 344.