A Bondi wellness clinic has been shut down following infection control breaches and patient hospitalisations.
We are all familiar with government alerts notifying the public of possible COVID-19 infections sites, but yesterday’s health announcement had a different ilk.
NSW Health is urging anyone who received colonic irrigation, skin needling, intravenous infusions or vitamin injection treatments from Detoxologie in Bondi to be tested for blood-borne viruses like HIV, Hepatitis C and Hepatitis B. The announcement comes after industry watchdogs found the wellness centre to have breached infection control.
NSW Health Minister, Dr Kerry Chant says that although the risk of transmission is low to moderate, she advises anyone who received those treatments between June 2013 and December 2020 to visit their GP for testing. NSW Health is currently contacting patients affected by the breach, but poor record-keeping is proving this difficult.
Detoxologie made headlines last year after it was shut down by the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) when two patients were hospitalised with infections following IV infusions. These isolated incidents highlight the importance of infection control within the wellness industry.
An Opportunity To Educate Consumers
Rosalie McEvedy, the founder of mobile IV service IV League Drips, says that while this situation is unfortunate, it’s an opportunity to educate consumers about the risks of visiting clinics with unsafe practices.
“Anything that is invasive or penetrating the skin, everyone should be very cautious—these things you shouldn’t take lightly. Do your research, make sure that the company you are seeing does have the right qualifications. These are serious illnesses,” Rosalie said.
At a minimum, IV therapies must be administered by a registered nurse and prescribing doctor who has standing orders over treatments. A statement issued by the HCCC in December 2020 uncovered that Detoxologie’s clinic practitioner Ms Fay Fain, “claims to be a registered nurse, but there is no evidence of her ever being registered as a nurse in Australia. Further evidence indicates Ms Fain has little knowledge of infection control practices”.
Rosalie, who has both Bachelor of Pharmacy and Masters of Nursing, says clinics must be transparent with their accreditations and should direct any worried clients to governing bodies like Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) to reassure them.
“Any practitioner should be able to give their registration number, and the public can verify this on AHPRA website,” she said.
Safe practices are non-negotiable
The risks for IV treatments are relatively low, but an infection could occur if the equipment is used more than once. IV League Drip exclusively uses disposable equipment for its treatments to minimise the risk. Patients see the sterile equipment opened in front of them and thrown away after use.
“Generally, you need to make sure you’re using disposable equipment as well as aseptic techniques. You know, disinfecting the area which you’re setting up, disinfecting your hands, wearing gloves. All the regulations NSW set up for nurses, we need to follow as well,” she said.
Fortunately, Rosalie believes these breaches won’t compromise the wellness industry’s integrity or businesses like her own, as it’s backed by qualifications and safe practices. However, it’s a reminder of the importance of transparency and training.
“The public should know they have every right to ask those questions and if the clinic can’t be transparent, then it’s a warning sign that something is not right,” she finishes.
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