A SPECIALIST skin cancer clinic in Bendigo has been banned from operating while the subject of a third investigation into aspects of its care.
Victoria's Health Complaints Commissioner has confirmed it is investigating concerns raised about the care Quality Cancer Care provided to patients.
Concerns related specifically to the detection, diagnosis and treatment of skin cancer.
Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack believed it was necessary to impose an interim prohibition order on Quality Cancer Care while the investigation was underway "to avoid a serious risk to the health, safety and welfare of the Victorian public."
"I have also issued a general health service warning statement about this health service to alert the public," Ms Cusack said.
Quality Cancer Care is banned from advertising, offering or providing - or causing to be advertised, offered or provided - any general health service under the interim prohibition order.
"It is important the public has confidence in health service providers and that members of the public raise any concerns they might have with us," Ms Cusack said.
"My office continues to investigate those providers who pose a risk to the public and we will not hesitate to take action against them, if they are found to have breached the code of conduct.
"All Victorians deserve safe and ethical healthcare from every health service they access. The code is in place to protect Victorians and I will not tolerate general health service providers who breach it."
Safer Care Victoria has launched an urgent review into Quality Cancer Care, citing concerns raised about the adequacy of diagnoses and treatment provided with referrals to the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre Bendigo.
More than 30 patients were referred to Peter Mac in Bendigo after Quality Cancer Care closed in April.
Most of those patients were part-way through a course of radiation treatment.
Safer Care Victoria said Peter Mac and Bendigo Health clinicians raised the concerns.
Experts are seeking to reach out to more than 2700 Quality Cancer Care patients and reviewing at least 12 months of patient files as part of the review.
The process is expected to take months.
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is making inquiries about the Quality Cancer Care's director and consultant radiation oncologist, Dr Wesley Miles.
An AHPRA spokesperson said the Medical Board of Australia took steps on April 30 to prevent Dr Miles from practising medicine. He provided an undertaking to the board not to practise.
"Our inquiries into this matter are continuing," an AHPRA spokesperson yesterday said.
Three Bendigo GPs and a former Quality Cancer Care patient yesterday expressed shock at the investigations into clinic, having all had positive experiences of its care.
The GPs also had some concerns about the effects of the clinic's closure, including a high volume of cases being referred to the hospital.
Bendigo Health today said it had no concerns about its ongoing ability to provide patient care.
"A special review clinic has been set up in conjunction with Bendigo Health and Bendigo Peter Mac to respond to any inquiries, and we do not believe there will be any impact from the review on day-to-day services," a Bendigo Health spokesperson said.
A dedicated clinic and hotline have been established for all former Quality Cancer Care Bendigo patients, as part of the Safer Care Victoria review.
Ms Cusack encouraged all those concerned about the care they received at Quality Cancer Care Bendigo to call the hotline, which is open from 9am - 5pm on weekdays, on 5454 6357.
She also encouraged people to come forward with any concerns about possible breaches of the code.
"If a person or their family member does not receive safe and ethical healthcare, or if they believe that a health service provider is not complying with the code, they can contact us via the phone on 1300 582 113 or via our online complaint form at hcc.vic.gov.au/make-complaint," Ms Cusack said.
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