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News / February 7, 2011

Belfast dental patients recalled

by Guy Hiscott

Belfast Trust has ordered the recall of 117 dental patients for checkups – as a precautionary measure – following a review of the clinical performance of a senior consultant at the School of Dentistry.

The action follows an extensive review of patients treated by the dentist, who is no longer working clinically but is still employed by the Trust.

Speaking to the Northern Ireland Assembly today [7 February 2011], health minister Michael McGimpsey spoke of his shock and reassured the public that a rigorous independent inquiry will be held.

Trust medical director, Dr Tony Stevens, said people should not be alarmed. Anyone who needs to be contacted has already been sent a letter and all of these will have been delivered by Saturday 5 February.

He said: ‘We have completed a thorough, formal investigation into the dental consultant’s clinical performance and, as a result of this, we have identified 18 patients about whom we had immediate concerns. All of these have been seen and treated.

‘The recall of 117 patients is an additional precaution to make sure they received the best possible quality of care.

‘We do not want to cause undue alarm as they are unlikely to have any serious illness but we wish to offer them the chance of a full dental assessment.’

A number of clinics have been arranged for any of the 117 patients who want to take up the offer, which will be held over the next few weeks. The patients have been asked in their letters to contact a dedicated telephone line to arrange an appointment at a time that suits them.

To read the minister’s full statement to the Northern Ireland Assembly, click here.