Yesterday’s NewsMail front page where patients demanded the truth on the contamination scare from Queensland Health.
Yesterday’s NewsMail front page where patients demanded the truth on the contamination scare from Queensland Health.

Patients anxious for test result

QUEENSLAND Health has delivered good news for patients affected by the Bundaberg Hospital Dental Clinic’s sterilisation bungle, with the all-clear given on all but one of the original 33 patients.

Results for the final patient are expected to be available today.

If the final test is clear, the 235 patients who attended the clinic will have little chance of contracting a blood borne disease.

But Queensland Health director-general Mick Reid admitted information could have been conveyed to patients better.

“What occurred was not good enough and I apologise for any confusion and distress caused by this episode,” Mr Reid said.

“This has been a complex issue and Queensland Health should have been more clear in its communications.”

Mr Reid said on Wednesday he gave operational control of the northern cluster of the Sunshine Coast-Wide Bay Health Service District to the state’s chief dental officer while the incident was investigated.

Mother of five Michelle Kendall, who is among the original 33 awaiting results, said she was relieved the results had been negative so far.

“I’m still a little bit anxious. I’m still going to wait for my results,” she said.

Over the weekend, patients who went to the hospital’s dental clinic between November 6 and November 13 were called in for blood testing after a breakdown in the sterilisation process was discovered.

Of those patients, 33 who attended on November 6 may have had unsterilised instruments used on them or been the source of infection for a further 235 patients treated in the following week.

Minister for Health Paul Lucas will visit the hospital today, but said it would be “inappropriate” for him to visit the dental clinic while the investigation was underway.

“The purpose of my visit (and it is not the first time I have visited Bundaberg hospital) is to talk with clinicians, inspect progress on the redevelopment and thank our staff for the great work they do,” Mr Lucas said.



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