The NHS is issuing dentists in Scotland with face masks that are almost a decade past their use-by date.
The Times reports that one face mask’s use-by date was in 2012, with a sticker covering the original date.
Last month there were reports of the Scottish health boards destroying thousands of face masks are they were found to be disintegrating.
‘Most of the masks I have been given have an original expiry date of 2014,’ Kevin Clark, a practice owner in Lanarkshire, says.
‘You have got to question whether masks that are six years, or more, out of date will be effective. To me it’s unacceptable.’
Serious questions over face mask safety
Despite this, the Scottish government is reassuring dentists that the PPE supplied is safe to use.
The NHS National Services Scotland confirmed in writing on Friday that revalidated PPE is safe to use.
However, BDA Scotland says it will examine certification and evidence of the revalidation process to ensure it is sufficiently robust.
‘The near decade-old expiry dates on PPE supplied by the Scottish government has raised serious questions over the safety of patients, dentists and their teams,’ David McColl, chair of the British Dental Association’s Scottish Dental Practice Committee, says.
‘We finally have received confirmation that the expired PPE has been appropriately revalidated. (But) we need to pick over the detail, to give our members some confidence no corners have been cut.
‘This is not a position any healthcare professional should ever have been put in.’
Dental practice reopening
Aerosol generating procedures are allowed in Scotland providing the dentist wears appropriate PPE.
In a speech at the start of the month, Nicola Sturgeon announced Scotland can move to the final phase of lockdown easing in August. However, this is only once the government is ‘satisfied the virus is no longer a significant threat to public health.’
The government is also allowing further eye care services to resume too.