EXPERTS are reviewing patient records and reaching out to up to 2700 people following concerns related to a specialist skin cancer clinic in Bendigo.
Safer Care Victoria is conducting an urgent review of Quality Cancer Care.
It comes after clinicians at Bendigo Health and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Bendigo raised concerns about diagnoses and treatment provided with referrals to their services.
More than 30 patients were referred after Quality Cancer Care closed its doors in April.
Most of the patients were part-way through a course of radiation treatment at the time, Safer Care Victoria said.
The state's healthcare quality and safety improvement specialist was alerted to the clinicians' concerns in May.
Safer Care Victoria chief executive Professor Euan Wallace said the review was in its early stages.
One of the immediate priorities had been ensuring continued care for patients still in need of treatment.
Another had been establishing a dedicated clinic to receive further past Quality Cancer Care patients with concerns.
Professor Wallace said that clinic was now ready, as well as a dedicated telephone line.
"If there are patients who are at all worried, please come forward," he said.
He said a specialist cancer nurse would answer the calls.
"Based on that conversation we'll either say everything is fine or come see us in the clinic," Professor Wallace said.
Safer Care Victoria has encouraged any concerned Quality Cancer Care patients to get in touch.
However, patients seen in the past 12 months will be the initial focus of the review.
"We will be attempting to contact up to 2700 past patients of the clinic by letter, but this may take some time," Professor Wallace said.
He said skin cancer experts would be working methodically through individual patient records, starting from 2019 and working back as far as necessary.
"It's really just to make sure there's no-one we're worried about," Professor Wallace said.
"We hope to have identified patients we'd like to invite forward within the next few months."
Safer Care Victoria said it was investigating and managing any public health risk identified as a result of the clinic's closure and patient referrals.
It is not yet known why the clinic closed in April.
Signage at an entry to the Williamson Street premises yesterday indicated the clinic was "closed until further notice".
Another notice, on the same entrance, attributed a temporary closure to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"We want to assure patients that most skin lesions are not life-threatening," Professor Wallace said.
He encouraged concerned patients to call the dedicated telephone line on 5454 6357 from 9am - 5pm or make an appointment with their GP.
Quality Cancer Care was contacted for comment.
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