Virus claim dentist Desmond D'Mello 'shocked at allegations'

Desmond D'Mello Image copyright other
Image caption More than 4,000 patients from Desmond D'Mello's practice in Gedling were screened for blood-borne viruses

A dentist who sparked a major health alert prompting the screening of thousands of patients for blood-borne viruses has spoken of his shock at allegations of malpractice.

Desmond D'Mello of Gedling, Nottinghamshire insisted he cared for many of his patients "as friends".

He faces 56 allegations of malpractice, including reusing dirty gloves, at a General Dental Council hearing.

The dentist described the investigation as "callous and very humiliating".

'Covert filming'

Mr D'Mello was suspended in June 2014 after a whistleblower secretly filmed him allegedly breaching clinical standards across three days.

He is accused of reusing dirty gloves on different patients and failing to decontaminate dental instruments.

The hearing was told Mr D'Mello, who qualified in 1977, had a contract with the NHS for the financial year 2014-15 worth nearly £675,000.

The dentist has not attended the hearing but sent an email addressing the charges to the committee.

In it, he said: "As you can imagine, this was a total shock to me and I have to say that the way the three officers from NHS England handled the whole situation was callous and very humiliating.

Image copyright PA
Image caption A leaflet about the risks posed to patients was handed out at Daybrook Dental Practice

"I was so shocked to be accused of such serious failings in infection control, I offered them a chance to carry out an inspection immediately."

He said the screening of his patients for blood-borne viruses had produced positive results "far below" the average for the population.

The fitness-to-practice hearing was told 22,000 patients listed on the practice database were written to and offered blood testing following the allegations.

NHS England said 4,526 patients of Mr D'Mello were tested following the recall, with five of these found to have hepatitis C. None were diagnosed with hepatitis B or HIV.

The statement, parts of which were read in private due to confidentiality issues, concluded: "I loved my job and found it an honour and privilege to treat my 22,000 patients, many of whom I cared for as friends.

"Several of my own family were my patients out of which half of them were general medical practitioners."

He added he had applied for "voluntary erasure" from the GDC register on two occasions.

The hearing continues.

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