District health CEO Gerry Marr responds to public meeting of support for cancer specialist Kiran Phadke

Dr Kiran Phadke addresses the public meeting, watched by his daughter Alana and wife Linda, former Cronulla MP Malcolm Kerr and Heathcote MP Lee Evans. Picture: John Veage

Dr Kiran Phadke addresses the public meeting, watched by his daughter Alana and wife Linda, former Cronulla MP Malcolm Kerr and Heathcote MP Lee Evans. Picture: John Veage

Local health district chief executive Gerry Marr has defended the inquiry into Dr Kiran Phadke following a public meeting that supported the cancer specialist.

More than 350 people defied oppressive heat to attend the meeting on Friday night at Southern Districts Rugby Club, Sylvania Waters.

The meeting was called after Mr Marr released a summary of the findings of the inquiry and indicated his intention to sack Dr Phadke from St George and Sutherland Hospitals.

Mr Marr said in a statement on Monday the local health district “has an obligation to ensure patients receive safe and effective health care”.

“The district is also obliged to investigate concerns raised about patient safety or the practice of any individual clinician,” he said.

Community support: It was standing room only at the public meeting, with the crowd spilling out on to a balcony. Picture: John Veage

Community support: It was standing room only at the public meeting, with the crowd spilling out on to a balcony. Picture: John Veage

Mr Marr said the district received specific concerns about Dr Phadke's clinical practice. 

“These were assessed by internal experts in the relevant speciality in accordance with NSW Health policy,” he said.

”Those internal assessments identified further and more significant concerns.

“Those cases were then referred for external review.”

Mr Marr said Dr Phadke was invited to respond to all external reviews before they were finalised and his feedback was taken into account by the external experts in finalising their reports.

“Dr Phadke has been provided a full and unabridged copy of the investigation report which appends unabridged copies of the individual cases reviewed,” he said.

“Dr Phadke has been invited to make any submission he would have taken into account in relation to the final report, having already been given the opportunity to comment on each of the external reviews previously. 

“While we are aware of public support for Dr Phadke, it is imperative that proper process be followed.”

Mr Marr said the local health district had a duty of care to patients to ensure they received appropriate, evidence based care.

“The district will follow the process as set out in the relevant NSW Health policy, a copy of which has been provided to Dr Phadke,” he said.

“That policy also ensures procedural fairness.

“A full copy of the investigation report will be provided to the Health Care Complaints Commission and NSW Medical Council who will make their own independent inquiries as to the significance of the concerns raised.”

The public meeting unanimously endorsed a resolution, stating, because there had been no adverse findings in respect of Dr Phadke’s oncology practices, he should be reinstated unconditionally to practice oncology at both St George and Sutherland Hospitals.

The resolution, which was supported by a petition, also requested Dr Phadke be granted a three months extension to respond to findings in respect to his haematology practice.

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