Experts are reviewing patient records and reaching out to up to 2700 people who may have been mistreated or misdiagnosed at a skin cancer clinic.
Experts are reviewing patient records and reaching out to up to 2700 people who may have been mistreated or misdiagnosed at a skin cancer clinic.

Fears thousands mistreated and misdiagnosed at cancer clinic

Thousands of patients are being sought amid concerns they may have been mistreated or misdiagnosed at a Victorian skin cancer clinic now the subject of several major investigations.

Immediate concerns have been raised about the safety of treatment received by more than 30 current cancer patients who had been undergoing radiotherapy at the Quality Cancer Care in Bendigo.

Safer Care Victoria has also confirmed it is contacting up to 2700 other patients who attended the private Bendigo clinic in recent years, before it closed suddenly in April.

Concerns about the welfare of patients have emerged as SCV, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency and Victoria's Health Complaints Commissioner have all launched investigations into Quality Cancer Care and its medical staff.

Among issues being examined, the Herald Sun understands investigators are probing whether radiotherapy treatments were undertaken by suitably qualified staff.

Safer Care Victoria confirmed it is contacting up to 2700 other patients who attended the private Bendigo clinic in recent years.
Safer Care Victoria confirmed it is contacting up to 2700 other patients who attended the private Bendigo clinic in recent years.

SCV Chief Executive Officer Professor Euan Wallace said investigators were alerted to issues at Quality Cancer Care in May after its closed its doors and referred more than 30 patients to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Bendigo.

Most of whom were part way through a course of radiation treatment, Prof Wallace said.

"We will focus on patients who were seen in 2019 and 2020, but any previous patients of Quality Cancer Care at Bendigo who are concerned about their treatment can contact the dedicated phone line," Prof Wallace said.

"We will be attempting to contact up to 2,700 past patients of the clinic by letter, but this may take some time.

"We want to assure patients that most skin lesions are not life threatening. Of course, if

you are worried, please call the phone line or make an appointment with your GP."

Doctors at the Peter Mac and Bendigo Health reported concerns about the adequacy of diagnoses and treatment provided to the patients referred to them from the clinic.

 

There are fear some patients were misdiagnosed. Picture: iStock
There are fear some patients were misdiagnosed. Picture: iStock

An AHPRA spokeswoman said the watchdog's investigations into the clinic was continuing.

"Confidentiality provisions that apply to us under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law prevent us from commenting on individual matters unless that information is publicly available," she said.

The Department of Health has established a local specialist clinic to offer review for anyone who has been a patient at Quality Cancer Care and is concerned about their diagnosis or treatment of skin cancer.

Anyone concerned about their treatment or diagnosis can arrange an appointment by calling 5454 6357.

Those with concerns about the actions of a registered health practitioner arranged to contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.

Originally published as Fears thousands were mistreated, misdiagnosed at cancer clinic



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