A general practitioner failed in his treatment of a man who died of melanoma, says the Health and Disability Commissioner.
The unnamed GP failed to elicit the man's history of melanoma, failed to tell the pathologist and surgeon about the history and did not keep adequate documentation, the commissioner said.
The GP, who has since retired, also did not arrange a follow-up after a melanoma was excised.
He was found to have breached the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers' Rights but there was no breach by the pathologist in the case.
The man first saw the GP in 2006 as part of an application for New Zealand residency.
In September 2008 a mole was removed from his back, which was confirmed as a melanoma.
It was recorded that no follow-up surgery was required and no other follow-up was arranged.
In September 2009 the patient had a lump in his left armpit and a fine needle test showed no sign of malignant cells.
By December 2009 the lump was firmer and when it was removed it was confirmed as malignant.
Further tests revealed the cancer had spread to his brain, liver and a lung. The man died a few months later.
New Zealand and Australia have the highest incidence of melanoma in the world.
It is the most serious form of skin cancer.