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At the heart of general practice since 1960

GP used unsterilised specula

More than 250 women may have been given smear tests with unsterilised equipment in a Scottish GP surgery.

The tests took place between April 2000 and November 2003 at the Clarkston Medical Practice in Airdrie when reusable metal vaginal specula were not always sterilised before being used again.

NHS Lanarkshire has contacted patients put at risk of

infection from the equipment and is offering them tests.

The scare came just three months after a GP in West Lothian mixed up sterilised and unsterilised specula, putt-ing an estimated 100 women at risk of sexually transmitted infections.

Research into other incidents of inadequately decontaminated vaginal instruments in primary care, presented at a Health Protection Agency conference in November, also concluded many more cases were likely to have occurred.

New guidance was issued in July by the Medical Devices Agency on how to clean stainless steel specula.

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