Nottinghamshire dental patients recalled following apparent breach of infection control procedures

NHS England in Nottinghamshire has been working with Public Health England to investigate apparent breaches of infection control procedures by a single dentist, who was contracted to provide NHS dental services at the former Daybrook Dental Practice, 88 Mansfield Road in Gedling, Nottinghamshire.

In June 2014 NHS England was contacted by a whistleblower who had concerns about the standards of clinical care being provided to patients. The whistleblower provided NHS England with supporting evidence, including covertly-filmed footage of dentist Mr Desmond D’Mello.

Having reviewed the evidence, NHS England immediately ordered an interim suspension of Mr D’Mello and commenced an investigation into clinical practices at the dental surgery. That investigation is ongoing and no findings have been made at this time in respect of Mr D’Mello.

The investigation team has also consulted with clinical experts in Public Health England, who undertook a clinical analysis of the potential risk to patients. Mr D’Mello has recently been tested by our Occupational Health Team and found to be clear of blood borne viruses. NHS England can therefore confirm that there is no risk of infection from Mr D’Mello himself. However, Public Health England did identify that patients seen by Mr D’Mello appear to have been placed at a possible low risk of infection from blood borne viruses (hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV), due to apparent multiple failures in cross-infection control standards whilst undergoing dental treatment.

Based on this clinical advice, Public Health England has recommended screening for all patients who have been treated by Mr D’Mello. It is understood the number of patients affected who have been seen and treated by Mr D’Mello during his time at the former Daybrook Dental Practice is about 22,000, as he had worked at the practice for over 32 years. NHS England has since been working with partners to make the necessary arrangements for a patient recall.

Dr Doug Black, Medical Director for NHS England in Nottinghamshire, said: “Our investigation demonstrates that acceptable infection control standards do not appear to have been followed by Mr D’Mello whilst he was treating patients at the former Daybrook Dental Practice. Immediate actions were taken to protect current patients once these apparent lapses were identified.

“However, this alleged drop in clinical standards may have put people at a low risk of infection from hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Therefore, as a precautionary measure, we are advising all patients who have seen Mr D’Mello to seek further advice on what action they may need to take.

“A dedicated advice line has been established on 03330 142479 for guidance on how to access additional support and is available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week.

“We have also set up a Community Clinic for affected patients to provide further help and support. This is presently available 8am to 8pm, seven days a week, at Arnold Health Centre, located at Highcroft Medical Centre on the High Street in Arnold, Nottingham NG5 7BQ.

“We are extremely sorry for the undoubted worry and concern people may feel on hearing this news. I would like to stress again that the risk is low but would encourage anyone affected to contact the advice line.

“We are working closely with Public Health England and the General Dental Council to resolve this issue as quickly as possible. We have separately contacted those who were filmed without consent to explain what has happened and we are providing ongoing support and assistance to all those who may be affected by this issue.”

Since August 2014 the former Daybrook Dental Practice has been under new ownership by Southern Dental, which is not in any way connected to this incident but has offered ongoing support and cooperation to our investigation and Mr D’Mello is no longer associated with this practice.

On 21 August 2014 the Interim Orders Committee of the General Dental Council, the national UK body which regulates dental professionals, suspended Mr D’Mello for a period of 18 months whilst they undertake their own investigation into the concerns raised.

Dr Vanessa MacGregor, Consultant in Communicable Disease Control for Public Health England in the East Midlands, said: “We have worked hard to identify the potential risk to individuals who may have been at risk of contracting hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV and I would like to emphasise the risk of infection is low and that testing is being offered as a precautionary measure.

“Effective treatments are available for all blood borne viruses, which is why it is important to identify anyone who may have been at risk of infection so treatment can be started if necessary.”


  1. Colin Handley says:

    I have seen on the BBC text service that NO patient has been diagnosed with Hepatites B,only 5cases of C? I would like it on record that I have been diagnosed with the hepvirus B,as of the Treatment Centre at Queens and also by a the Hepatites clinic at Queens,where I am receiving treatment.
    Also I cannot understand why I never got a letter from your clinic as to the results of blood tests I had taken at the clinic?? My wife and son both had the blood tests taken at the clinic,as a precaution,and they received notice that they were clear,but as I say I never received anything from theArnold clinic??as to the results of my blood test.
    I was a patient of his for 28+years,

  2. Caroline says:

    Are NHS England or the Local Area Authority going to take responsibility for handing Desmond D’Mello 29000 Units of Dental Activity for a practice with only 1 full and one part time dentist? Surely it is fairly obvious that nobody would be able to complete this amount of UDAs? Why did the CQC pass this surgerys inspection? Surely they should look at the workload of this dentist before anything else? Was it necessary to go back 32 years, when many of the cross infection control regulations were only put in place 10 years ago ? How much is this recall costing the NHS?

    I think there are others who also bear the responsibility of this debacle, and it is well overdue that NHS Managers are held accountable for their actions too.

    • NHS England says:

      Mr D’Mello was not a single practitioner but a sole contract holder who employed other dentists. The figure quoted of 29,000 UDAs is not something we can comment on as information of this nature is commercially confidential; neither can comment on inspections undertaken by the CQC which is an independent organisation.

      There has been £500k put aside to run this project and we anticipate the cost will be in this region.

      As Mr D’Mello was apparently failing to undertake a range of standard infection control procedures throughout the course of a working day, and across a wide range of dental procedures, the potential risk cannot be quantified to a specific number.

      Mr D’Mello’s alleged incorrect clinical procedures were observed during covert filming over a three-day period in June 2014. We are aware of 166 individuals affected during the filming period but we cannot rule out the risk to other patients he has seen during his time working as a dentist at this practice for over 32 years.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Has anyone questioned the nhs paying the monies based on him seeing so many clients, they’ve never complained or questioned why they were paying him loads so why are we?
    I find this infuriating …… Witch hunt!

    • NHS England says:

      Mr D’Mello was not a single practitioner but a sole contract holder who employed other dentists.

  4. Craig says:

    I just rang the advice line, I told them I was former patient of Mr D’Mello and asked whether I should go for a blood test. I was told they cant advise on whether I should go for a blood test….What a joke

    • NHS England says:

      The possible risk to individuals is low. Investigations of this type are very rare and each unique, so it is difficult to know the exact statistical level of risk. Although the potential risk is low, it still remains, which is why we have advised testing to all treated by the dentist.

  5. colleen says:

    Did D mello work at a dentist in bulwell around 1980 – 1986

    • NHS England says:

      We are unable to confirm where else Mr D’Mello worked as we have no access to this information. If you have any concerns, please contact the advice line for further information on 03330 142479.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I found the The system in place at Highcroft Medical Centre to be extremely efficient. However, the more I think about this Dentist the angrier I get. Yes, he did seem a lovely guy but was it all a con, he has made himself a very rich man at our expense. Just because someone is friendly towards you does not necessarily make them good at their job.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes be angry you’ve every right but believe me they don’t always operate that way at highcroft, take note next time you have bloods taken. They don’t sanitise your arm before sticking a needle in.

  7. Helen says:

    The helpline is a complete waste of time. My disabled housebound mother was told she has to go to the drop in clinic. She cannot even walk to the car to get there. I have an appointment scheduled for unrelated blood tests and have been told i can’t have this done at the same time, i have to now take an extra day off work. My sister now lives in coventry and was told yesterday that she had to come back to nottingham to get tested!

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Helen,

      Thank your for you comment.

      Arnold Health Centre is presently open 8am to 8pm, seven days a week. The address is Highcroft Medical Centre on the High Street in Arnold, Nottingham NG5 7BQ. Housebound patients can request their GP practice to undertake the testing for them. A patient information pack can be obtained from Arnold Health Centre.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  8. Elizabeth Sturgess says:

    The dedicated helpline does not connect – it is a non-existent number – can you help?

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Elizabeth,

      We’re sorry to hear you’re experiencing problems. The advice line number has received over 2,000 calls so we know calls are able to get through on 03330 142479.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  9. Deborah says:

    Desmond D’Mello treated me from 1986 to 1988. Is it too long ago to be concerned?

  10. Anonymous says:

    We were treated as a family by Dr D Mello, we never had any complaints, he was very swift about his work some may say too swift, always greeted his patients personally, very friendly, did I see him wash his hands, no! Did I obeserve him sanitise his equipment, no! But then I’ve been to the phlebotomist at highcroft Arnold in the past where you’ve set up a clinic, do they wear gloves, NO THEY DONT! so I ask the question is this man being made an example of? Yes I partly think so. And why the delay informing the public was is so a new owner for the surgery was acquired before it all hit the fan and new clients were lost completely, you’ve already noted Dr Dmello was contracted by the nhs………….conspiracy. It’s fundamental hygiene WASH YOUR HANDS & WEAR GLOVES. I’ve had infection control training if you can’t afford lots and lots of gloves it was deemed acceptable approx 4 years ago to wash your gloves with acceptable hand cleanser.

    • Richard Jarvis says:

      HI we as a family have been with this practice for 30 years and all l will say I would trust Desmond Demello he is the best dentist we whent to and would go back to no problem

    • NHS England says:

      Hi, thank you for you comment.

      Every NHS provider must have in place infection prevention and control policies to protect both staff and patients from the risk of infection. The use of protective equipment (gloves) is considered standard in certain situations, including procedures which may cause contact with blood and body fluids. If you have a concern when you are being treated, you should ask the health care worker to put on clean gloves. If you wish to make a complaint about how you were treated, you can do this through the NHS provider where you were treated.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

      • Anonymous says:

        We were told the nurses don’t have to wear gloves when taking blood …… Recently A phlebotomist from stenhouse medical centre Arnold Nottingham visited a patients house, she didn’t wear gloves, she touched the arm area, then touched her coat to undo the buttons, then inserted the needle, hand sanitiser was not used, yes I observed this, as the patient is able to speak up for themselves I was not permitted to intervene, choice rights etc. was she friendly, yes she was. But she inserted a needle into a non sterile area, whose at fault NHS? Who?

  11. Peter White says:

    I was a patient during the eighties, until 1990. I have been a regular blood donor since 1991. Would any problems be discovered by the blood service?

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Peter,

      Please call the advice line number 03330 142479. If you have donated blood since your last treatment by Dr D’Mello then there is no need to be tested as any viral infection would have been detected when you last gave blood.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  12. Fiona says:

    My family used this dentist until 2004 when we moved away from Nottingham. I have tried ringing the helpline number several times but it does not work – I think someone needs to check the number given is correct. In the meantime, pease can you advise me what I should do next.

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Fiona,

      We’re sorry to hear you’re experiencing problems.

      The advice line number has received over 2,000 number of calls so we know calls are able to get through on 03330 142479.

      If you’re calling from abroad you need to dial 0044 3330 142479.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  13. Derek Flinders says:

    Has this guy ever worked for seven dental Nottingham? I really need to know?

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Derek,

      Thank you for you comment.

      We can confirm that he hasn’t worked at Seven Dental.

      Kind Regards
      NHS England

  14. Derek Flinders says:

    I desperately need to know if this man has ever worked at Seven Dental (7 Dental) in the Hyson Green/Radford area (NG7) of Nottingham? please, please let me know asap! I am deeply concerned I may have been treated there with this man but I am not sure as it mentions only Daybrook?

  15. Michael lievesley says:

    I used this dentist as far as I can remember rough year guide 1982 to rough Gide 1990 . I had around 4 front teeth capped and 2 gold filling caps on back teeth.
    I’ve rung the hotline no but can’t get through from Spain as I’m now living on mainland Spain. Should I seek information from my gp here in Spain for a blood test.

    • Anonymous says:

      My nephew is in Oz and the advisors recommend he see his gp.

    • NHS England says:

      Hi Michael,

      Thank you for you comment.

      Under the circumstances we would recommend that you speak with your GP and seek to be tested as a precautionary measure

      Kind Regards
      NHS England