18 staff taken to task at TTSH clinic over hygiene lapse
EIGHTEEN staff members at Tan Tock Seng Hospital’s (TTSH) dental clinic will be counselled and disciplined following an incident last year, where eight packs of dental equipment did not undergo the final step of sterilisation and were used for treatment between Nov 28 and Dec 5.
The disciplinary actions against the employees — among them senior management members and supervisors — will include warnings and financial penalties. They will also need to go through retraining and education.
In a statement on Tuesday (Jan 8), the National Healthcare Group (NHG) said that its review committee, which was established following the incident, has completed its independent investigation and identified the main cause as “human error with a lapse in adherence to the established sterilisation process and verification protocol”.
Weak sterilisation protocols and work instructions were also found to be contributing factors. There were gaps, too, in the level of vigilance, with staff failing to verify the sterility of the instruments before use.
The committee flagged the lack of timeliness in the reporting of the incident as well. “Earlier escalation and faster response could significantly reduce the impact of the incident,” the statement added.
The committee was chaired by the chief executive officer of the Institute of Mental Health, Professor Chua Hong Choon, as well as experts from other health clusters.
It submitted its full investigation report with follow-up actions to the Ministry of Health (MOH) on Tuesday. –