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Murray v Veterinary Surgeons Board[2016] QCAT 233

Murray v Veterinary Surgeons Board[2016] QCAT 233

CITATION:

Murray v Veterinary Surgeons Board [2016] QCAT 233

PARTIES:

Frederick Leslie Murray

(Applicant)

 

v

 

Veterinary Surgeons Board

(Respondent)

APPLICATION NUMBER:

OCR070-16

MATTER TYPE:

Occupational regulation matters

HEARING DATE:

On the papers

HEARD AT:

Brisbane

DECISION OF:

Senior Member O'Callaghan

DELIVERED ON:

4 July 2016

DELIVERED AT:

Brisbane

ORDERS MADE:

  1. The application for a stay is refused.

CATCHWORDS:

PROFESSIONS AND TRADES – REVIEW – where approval to operate premises as veterinary surgery cancelled – where applicant sought a review of that decision – where application to stay the decision pending review – where not in the public interest to grant a stay

Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld), s 22

APPEARANCES:

This matter was heard and determined on the papers pursuant to s 32 of the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2009 (Qld) (QCAT Act).

REASONS FOR DECISION

  1. [1]
    Frederick Murray is a veterinary surgeon. He has operated a vet practice from premises in Ayr for over 30 years (‘the premises’). On 29 April 2016, the Veterinary Surgeons Board (‘the Board’) cancelled Dr Murray’s approval to operate the premises as a vet premises.
  2. [2]
    The reason for the decision was that following an inspection of the premises by Board representatives, the view was formed that the premises did not meet the minimum standards required by the board for use as a vet premises.
  3. [3]
    The Board wrote to Dr Murray on 19 February 2016, advising that it proposed to cancelled the premises’ approval because of the deficiencies identified in the assessment against the minimum standard.
  4. [4]
    Dr Murray was given the opportunity to show cause why the approval should not be cancelled.
  5. [5]
    In his response through his solicitors, Dr Murray challenged some of the findings, but effectively conceded that the premises were deficient in some respects and advised:[1]

Dr Murray is willing to work with the Board in order to achieve a satisfactory outcome. Dr Murray is prepared to, and has already commenced working towards the rectification of those matters which can be dealt with immediately and is prepared to spend significant monies to renovate and upgrade the premises.

  1. [6]
    Dr Murray asked the Board not to cancel the approval and to allow him to continue to operate during the renovation period.
  2. [7]
    In response, the Board advised that it would not cancel the approval provided Dr Murray undertook to immediately cease all procedures and hospitalisation of patients at the premises, and that the deficiencies identified be rectified within 28 days.
  3. [8]
    Dr Murray’s response through his solicitor was that the undertaking would not be given. The decision was then made on 29 April to cancel the approval.
  4. [9]
    Dr Murray has applied to the Tribunal for a review of that decision. He has also applied for a stay of the decision pending the review. The Board opposes the granting of the stay.
  5. [10]
    The Tribunal may stay a decision subject to review if it considers it is desirable having regard to:[2]
    1. The interests of those who may be affected by the Tribunal’s decision to stay or not to stay the decision;
    2. Any decision made by the decision-maker; and
    3. The public interest.
  6. [11]
    In support of his application to stay the decision pending review, Dr Murray says the Board has been unreasonable in its actions. He says he is willing to comply with the Board’s requirements if given enough time, and is now willing to undertake not to carry on business from the premises until the renovations are complete.
  7. [12]
    He says he should not be put in the position of having to reapply for approval following completion of the renovations.
  8. [13]
    The Board, in opposing the stay, say that in their current state the premises fail to meet the minimum standards necessary to ensure patient health and safety.
  9. [14]
    They say although Dr Murray now offers an undertaking not to practice during the renovation if the approval were retained, there is no mechanism for the Board to ensure that patient safety is protected while the renovations are carried out. They point to Dr Murray’s earlier refusal to offer an undertaking as indicative of the risk.
  10. [15]
    Although Dr Murray has not filed any affidavit evidence it appears from the submissions provided by both parties that, in practical terms, it is likely that the renovations will probably be ongoing until at least the time the substantive review is heard.
  11. [16]
    In those circumstances, the argument of Dr Murray that it is unfair to have to apply for a new approval would be more appropriately considered at the substantive hearing. If Dr Murray is successful in his review of the decision to cancel the approval, then any application for new approval will not be necessary.
  12. [17]
    In circumstances where Dr Murray concedes the premises are not currently adequate to practice from, and the renovations are unlikely to be completed until such time as the review is heard it is not appropriate to grant a stay of the decision. There is a risk to the safety of patients if Dr Murray recommenced practice before the premises were approved to be of an appropriate standard.
  13. [18]
    It is not in the public interest to grant a stay, and in the circumstances the application for a stay is refused.

Footnotes

[1] Letter Groves and Clark Solicitors to Board dated 17 March 2016, at page 2.

[2] Queensland Civil and Administrative Act 2009 (Qld) (‘QCAT Act’), s 22(4).

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Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Murray v Veterinary Surgeons Board

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Murray v Veterinary Surgeons Board

  • MNC:

    [2016] QCAT 233

  • Court:

    QCAT

  • Judge(s):

    Senior Member O'Callaghan

  • Date:

    04 Jul 2016

Appeal Status

Please note, appeal data is presently unavailable for this judgment. This judgment may have been the subject of an appeal.

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