Statement on NSW Parliamentary Inquiry report into off protocol prescribing of chemotherapy in NSW

Statement on NSW Parliamentary Inquiry report into off protocol prescribing of chemotherapy in NSW

18 May 2017

St Vincent’s Hospital Sydney notes the recommendations made by the Legislative Council Select Committee into off protocol prescribing of chemotherapy in NSW. We stand ready to work with the NSW Government on any changes agreed as part of the Government’s response.

The Hospital apologises again to patients and families affected by this matter. 

We welcome the finding of the Parliamentary Inquiry that St Vincent’s has “taken responsibility for [its] failures and is addressing them appropriately”.

St Vincent’s has always acted in what it believed to be the best interests of its patients. However, in this instance, it failed to appreciate the seriousness of what occurred and this impacted on all aspects of its early responses.

St Vincent’s categorically rejects any suggestion that it deliberately set out to mislead either patients or the public. 

The independent and exhaustive s122 Inquiry into this matter found that Dr Grygiel’s practice “remained unknown to senior hospital management until August 2015”.

Since this matter began, Dr Grygiel’s prescribing practices and the Hospital’s response have been scrutinised by two independent inquiries. 

In addition, St Vincent’s engaged one of Australia’s foremost cancer experts, Professor Robert Thomas, to independently supervise the hospital’s progress in implementing the recommendations of the s122 Inquiry which were brought down more than one year ago.

Professor Thomas recently endorsed the Hospital’s 12 month progress report, with all recommendations having now been implemented by the Hospital.

St Vincent’s has provided additional follow up for affected patients, and counselling and support for them and their families. 

The Hospital has put in place a world-standard cancer electronic medical record and prescribing system that updates new dosage protocols so an event of this nature can never happen again.

At the same time, the Hospital has employed a new Head of Medical Oncology, a new Director of Medical Services, and a new Director of Clinical Governance.

New education and training has been rolled out for staff as well as cultural change programs, both within the Hospital’s cancer services team and throughout St Vincent’s.

NSW Health has a NSW Cancer Treatment Inquiry Line for people with concerns about their cancer treatment - 1800 940 633.

For more information contact Paul Andrews on 0409 665 495