Nottingham

Desmond D'Mello allegations proven by General Dental Council

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

A dentist who sparked "the biggest NHS patient recall in history" committed a string of malpractice offences, a panel has found.

Thousands of patients were tested for blood-borne viruses after secret filming of Desmond D'Mello exposed poor levels of cleanliness.

All but one of the 56 allegations were found proven at a General Dental Council (GDC) misconduct hearing.

The council will now decide whether Mr D'Mello will be struck off.

Secret filming at his Daybrook Dental Practice, in Nottingham, in 2014 prompted the recall of 22,000 patients.

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Image copyright PA
Image caption Desmond D'Mello's Daybrook Dental Practice, in Daybrook, Nottinghamshire, is now under a new name and new ownership

More than 4,000 of those patients were tested for viruses including hepatitis and HIV.

A conduct hearing at the GDC found 55 allegations against him were proven, including failing to change gloves between patients and not putting on a new surgical mask for each patient.

The panel said: "Mr D'Mello was under a duty to maintain adequate infection control for patients and staff.

"Mr D'Mello's actions...were a departure from this duty and, there, constituted a failure to maintain adequate infection controls."

Dental nurse Caroline Surgey admitted more than 20 allegations which happened when she was working alongside Mr D'Mello.

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Image caption NHS England warned thousands of patients that they were at a low risk of infection

The 43-year-old told the panel she had failed to adequately re-educate herself following a career break and was scared to challenge Mr D'Mello in case she lost her job.

An emotional Ms Surgey, who has since received the relevant training, said of her reaction when she re-watched the video of herself: "It was appalling.

"If I saw that person doing that I would be horrified, I was ashamed and I could see failures in all of it and if I saw that person I would think they were a really bad person."

She added: "I have let myself down, I have let my family down, I have let the profession down, I have let the patients down and I have the public down and it will never, never happen again."

The panel heard witnesses who said Mr D'Mello insisted on seeing "massive amounts of patients", sometimes up to four in 15 minutes, making "cross-infection control impossible".

It also heard that the surgery was "filthy" and staff were told off for too much cleaning or changing their gloves.

Ms Surgey said on Monday: "It was obviously to ease costs so he did not like me changing gloves all the time.

"He would comment if somebody changed their gloves all the time."

Mr D'Mello is not giving evidence at the hearing but in a statement to the panel said he was in "total shock" at the allegations, which he accused the NHS of handling in a "humiliating" manner.

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.

Mr D'Mello was a dentist for nearly 38 years and began his own practice in 1980.

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