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NSW MPs push for chemotherapy inquiry

AAP logoAAP 10/08/2016

Premier Mike Baird is facing increasing pressure to set up a special commission of inquiry into the under-dosing of chemotherapy patients at NSW hospitals, with a swag of MP's rallying behind the call.

Labor health spokesman Walt Secord will on Wednesday move a motion in parliament to establish an inquiry into the scandal which has seen hundreds of patients affected by alleged doctor malpractice.

At least four NSW crossbenchers, including Reverend Fred Nile and Greens MP Jeremy Buckingham, have voiced support for the move and will probably vote in favour of setting up the inquiry immediately.

Reverend Nile's wife Elaine died of cancer and was treated at the hospital at the centre of the scandal, Sydney's St Vincent Hospital.

"I would be devastated if I found out she was given half doses (of chemotherapy drugs)," he told the Daily Telegraph on Wednesday, adding that he supports the inquiry.

The under-dosing crisis engulfing St Vincent's deepened last week after it was revealed that a second doctor may have prescribed lower-than-recommended treatments at St George and Sutherland hospitals in Sydney's south.

Haematologist Dr Kiran Phadke is believed to have given inappropriate doses of chemotherapy drugs to his patients for as long as 13 years.

The revelation came as Health Minister Jillian Skinner released a report, which found that the number of patients who were under-dosed at St Vincent's by senior oncologist Dr John Grygiel had increased to more than 100.

It's expected more names will be added to the victims' list when a report into Dr Grygiel's time at Bathurst and Orange Hospitals is released in September.

At the time, Ms Skinner said the government had taken a number of steps to reassure cancer patients their treatment is sound, including a review of all public cancer patients who have received treatment over the past five years.

The government has also allocated $6 million over three years for new electronic prescribing software to track chemotherapy prescribing.

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission is meanwhile continuing its investigation into Dr Grygiel's clinical practice and a separate investigation is underway into Dr Phadke.

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