By ALLISON HORE
NSW Health is urging anyone who underwent a procedure at a Bondi Junction wellness clinic to get tested for bloodborne infections like HIV after the clinic’s practitioners were found to have little knowledge of infection control.
Clients at the now-closed Detoxologie clinic at Eastgate Shopping Centre in Bondi Junction are being warned HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C may have spread from one patient to another due to its infection control breaches.
On its website, which has been taken down, the so-called “wellness centre” claims to be able to “help you to cleanse and restore your digestion, re-balance your body, rejuvenate your mind and heal.” But the clinic seemed to be doing more harm than healing. In early December 2020, two of the clinic’s clients were hospitalised after receiving allegedly contaminated intravenous infusions at Detoxologie.
Upon investigation by NSW Health, the clinic was shut down with inspectors saying hygiene practices at the clinic were poor and colonic irrigation devices were not sterilised between uses. Non-sterile equipment was also used for a number of skin penetrating procedures including facial micro-needling, blood testing for food allergies and intravenous vitamin infusion.
While the clinic’s practitioner, Fay Fain, claimed to be a registered nurse, however the Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) say “there is no evidence of her ever being registered as a nurse in Australia.”
“Low risk” of infection
NSW Health says anyone who received a skin penetrating procedure at the centre is at “a low risk” of bloodborne viruses including hepatitis B, hepatitis C and HIV. Chief Health Officer Kerry Chant said Detoxologie clients should talk to their GPs and arrange a blood borne virus test “as soon as possible”.
No infections as a result of procedures at Detoxologie have been identified to date, however NSW Health is urging former clients to play it safe and get tested “as a precaution” considering signs of these infections can sometimes take years to show.
“We advise that it is beneficial for everyone to know whether or not they are infected with these viruses as there are now effective treatments available to prevent long-term complications,” they said.
NSW Health says they have attempted to contact all customers on the centre’s database, however, they cannot be sure business records were complete or contact details were recorded correctly
This isn’t the first time the clinic has been at the centre of controversy. In September last year the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) issued the company with three infringement notices totalling almost $40,000 for advertising unapproved health devices and misleading advertising claiming they were TGA approved. The TGA does not regulate or approve clinics or treatments.
As of February 1, Ms. Fain has been issued a prohibition order from providing any health services.
Clients who wish to make a complaint about a procedure they underwent at the wellness centre are being urged to get in touch with the Health Care Complaints Commission via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 1800 043 159 or (02) 9219 7444.