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TD wants new probe into the use of second-hand braces at Galway dental unit

A dentist working in Merlin Park Hospital in Galway provided braces that had been removed from children there to a private dental practice.

DENIS NAUGHTEN TD is calling for an independent investigation into the sale and reuse of braces at Merlin Park Hospital in Galway.

The call relates to wrongdoing that first emerged in 2009 when an individual dentist working at the hospital’s orthodontic unit provided braces that had been removed from children there to a private dental practice.

The dentist in question was investigated by the HSE and the practice has now stopped but Naughten says that not enough has been done to find out what steps have been taken to contact children who were given the second-hand braces.

Naughten claims that the reuse of braces had been going on for a number of years and said that the HSE needs to provide information on the possible infection risk for those affected.

Speaking on behalf of the Government, Minister Kathleen Lynch said that the incident was investigated by the HSE at the time but that Minister of State in the Department of Health Alex White has asked the HSE to provide any updates if required.

Lynch said that she wanted to assure people that there is no ongoing risk to the public in this case. She outlined that HIQA have looked at the what happened and routine audits have been carried out twice a year.

Minister for State White also expects to receive a new report on the matter in the new year.

Naughten responded by saying that the Minister’s response was inadequate because it did not address the “core risk” to patients. “What has happened to the children who were involved, what are the risks of infection there?,” he asked.

What steps have been taken over the last four years to deal with the risks to infection and possible exposure to infection. Significant issues that need to be addressed here.

Lynch acknowledged that there are outstanding issues in the case and but that it “would not be unreasonable” for the report to take one or two months to be compiled.

Read: Warning about ‘quick-fix’ teeth straightening >

Read: Almost 14,000 children waiting on orthodontic treatments >

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