SINGAPORE: Dental instruments which were not fully sterilised may have been used on up to 72 patients at the National Dental Centre Singapore (NDCS).
It announced this in a media statement on Monday (Jun 12), adding that it is conducting a thorough review of the incident and the processes involved.
NDCS said that the lapse was discovered on Jun 5, and efforts were made to recall 72 packs of the affected instruments from its specialist outpatient clinics on the second, fourth and sixth floors of the building.
Although the instruments had gone through the first two steps of sterilisation, which involves machine washing and thermal disinfection, they had not completed the final step of steam sterilisation.
NDCS said all the affected instruments were retrieved by Jun 6, but by then, up to 72 people may have received treatment using the instruments. It added that it is reaching out to all 714 patients who visited the clinics on Jun 5 and 6.
"Given the nature of treatment at the outpatient clinics and the completion of the earlier steps in the sterilisation process which would remove close to 100 per cent of organisms of concern, the risk of infection to patients is assessed to be extremely low," said NDCS.
"We have been reaching out to reassure the patients on their low risk of infection, and are working with them to address any concerns."
NDCS is the largest dental specialty centre in Singapore, and is located at the grounds of the Singapore General Hospital.
“Patient safety and well-being are our first priority. We deeply regret this incident and sincerely apologise to our patients for the lapse and any anxiety caused," said NDCS director Poon Choy Yoke.
"We have taken immediate steps to strengthen our processes and ensure the safety of all patients in our care," she added.