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  • SA Health slammed for false cancer results

    Author: AAP

The SA government has accused the pathology department of covering up a bungle where 100 men received false positive results for prostate cancer.

South Australia's bungle-plagued health department has been blasted by its minister over the latest botched testing that led to 100 men receiving false positive results for prostate cancer.

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SA Pathology executive director Ken Barr has been sacked and an independent review ordered over errors uncovered when a urologist ordered new tests for about 30 patients who then returned negative results.

The latest bungle has prompted calls from the opposition for a full judicial review of the department and comes after the under-dosing of chemotherapy patients, the use of hidden cameras to monitor pathology staff and revelations health workers snooped on patient files.

Health Minister Jack Snelling only found out about the latest problem when contacted by the media, something he said was "completely unacceptable".

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He took aim at SA Pathology's "cryptic statements" about the errors, suspected to be caused by a batch of faulty test kits.

"As part of our continuous quality improvement program, SA Pathology regularly reviews its tests," it said in a statement posted online last month, which has since been removed.

"Whilst our PSA results have been highly accurate and reliable in the core range, we have moved to improve values below 0.15ug/L, where some patients have required repeat testing."

Mr Snelling labelled the explanation "absolutely disgraceful".

"I don't think anyone reading that would think there's a problem. That is not what I call full and frank disclosure," he said.

"We are only as good as the information that's provided to us and sometimes that information is inadequate or incorrect and I've had a gutful of it.

"I do think that there are a very small number of people in SA Health who don't think they're accountable to anyone."

SA Health chief executive David Swan also found out about the inaccurate test results on Saturday.

"It is clear even at this stage that there have been a number of issues that SA Pathology has not reported or managed effectively," he said.

Opposition health spokesman Stephen Wade said the latest crisis pointed to a systemic cultural problem within the department.

"The evidence from recent scandals suggests they are very much focused on self-preservation as an organisation rather than the patients they're meant to serve," he said.

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