A DEDICATED telephone line for patients concerned about the care they received from a specialist skin cancer clinic in Bendigo has received almost 700 calls in six weeks.
Safer Care Victoria, Victoria's Health Complaints Commissioner and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency are all running investigations related to Quality Cancer Care in Bendigo.
More than 1100 letters have been sent to past patients as part of Safer Care Victoria's urgent review, which was prompted by concerns from clinicians at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Bendigo and Bendigo Health.
A clinic was established to review diagnoses and treatment provided to former Quality Cancer Care Bendigo patients, as was a dedicated telephone line.
The phone line received about 680 calls by August 7.
AHPRA said its inquiries into Quality Cancer Care's director, Dr Wesley Miles, were ongoing.
"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," an AHPRA spokesperson said.
The Medical Board of Australia took steps on April 30 to prevent Dr Miles from practising medicine.
Dr Miles provided the board with an undertaking to cease practising, that day.
His registration had been subject to conditions for more than three years prior, from September 2016 to October 2019.
It is not known what the conditions were, or why they were lifted in October 2019.
"While the public register at that time reflected that the conditions existed, the specifics of the conditions were not published," an AHPRA spokesperson said.
They could not comment further, citing privacy provisions.
Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack banned Quality Cancer Care from operating for 12 weeks as she investigated concerns about the care provided to patients.
"We were alerted to alleged concerns about the diagnosis and treatment of patients and patient records at Quality Cancer Care," Ms Cusack said.
"Our investigation is currently ongoing and we are looking into whether Quality Cancer Care Clinic has contravened the code of conduct for general health service providers."
A general health service warning statement was issued, in addition to the interim prohibition order.
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Safer Care Victoria said in June it would be trying to reach up to 2700 of Quality Cancer Care's past patients via letter.
Patients seen in the previous 12 months were to be the review's initial focus, but all concerned were encouraged to come forward.
The Department of Health and Human Services has again urged Quality Cancer Care patients to call the patient line on 5454 6357 (9am - 5pm) with any concerns.
"All diagnostic cancer tests and any necessary cancer surgery is continuing for these patients," a department spokesperson said.
"COVID-19 should not prevent anyone from accessing a cancer treatment they need and we urge all people to see their doctor if they have health concerns, because delaying treatment can potentially affect outcomes."