'Skin Cancer Centre Sydney' Investigation: Questions and Answers
Issued 18 November 2008
Some patients treated at the 'Skin Cancer Centre Sydney', 403 George Street Sydney, between 1998 and 2007 may not have received adequate treatment and follow-up. NSW Health has written to those patients at risk, advising them of future management options.
Why is the investigation being conducted?
NSW Health is conducting an investigation of patients of the private practice, 'Skin Cancer Centre Sydney', following advice received from the Australian Government's Professional Services Review that some patients may not have received adequate treatment and follow-up of skin cancer.
NSW Health has undertaken to review the pathology records of patients treated at the clinic between December 1998 and December 2007, to identify those who may need further follow-up.
The Skin Cancer Centre Sydney was located at HCF House, 403 George Street, Sydney.
What actions has NSW Health taken?
NSW Health has brought together an Expert Panel made up of dermatologists, pathologists, a general practitioner and public health specialists to provide advice on the investigation.
Specialists have reviewed pathology records of people who had visited the clinic to identify which patients may need further follow-up.
All patients identified as having skin lesions of concern will be contacted by letter. The letter explains the situation and provides advice on future management options.
What if I was a patient at the clinic but I have not been contacted?
The specialist review of pathology records has found that many patients are not at increased risk because their lesions were not cancerous. These patients do not require any additional follow-up and were not sent a letter.
It is possible that the addresses supplied to NSW Health may not have been accurate in every case e.g., if a patient had not updated their address with Medicare Australia. If you have not received a letter and are concerned because you had a skin cancer removed at the Skin Cancer Centre Sydney, you should request a routine skin check at your next visit to your GP.
Another reason is that we know you are (or have been) a patient of either of two large skin cancer clinics in Sydney - the Sydney Melanoma Unit or the Skin and Cancer Foundation of Australia.
How soon should I see a doctor?
People have been divided into two groups according to their priority for follow-up.
People who need to see a doctor will be sent a letter that will provide advice about how and when to see a doctor.
What if I have already seen another doctor since?
If you have seen another doctor who has completed a full skin check since you last attended the clinic, then no further action is required. However, you should advise your GP of this information at your next appointment, and continue to have regular skin checks (at least once per year).
If you have not had a full skin check since attending the clinic, have one next time you visit your doctor.
What should I tell my doctor?
If you have received a letter from NSW Health, you should take it with you when you visit your GP, along with the attachments included with the letter. If you have not received a letter but are still concerned, take this factsheet with you and talk to your GP next time you visit. Ask for a full skin check.
How do I find a GP if I don't have one?
Do I have to pay to be seen by a GP or specialist?
Many GPs and specialists do not bulk bill so it is possible that you will have to pay for the cost of your visit.