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Lalor v State of Queensland (Queensland Health)[2021] QIRC 320

Lalor v State of Queensland (Queensland Health)[2021] QIRC 320

QUEENSLAND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COMMISSION

CITATION:

Lalor v State of Queensland (Queensland Health) [2021] QIRC 320

PARTIES:

Lalor, Sharon

(Appellant)

v

State of Queensland (Queensland Health)

(Respondent)

CASE NO:

PSA/2021/21

PROCEEDING:

Public Service Appeal – fair treatment decision

DELIVERED ON:

17 September 2021

MEMBER:

HEARD AT:

Hartigan IC

On the papers

ORDERS:

  1. Pursuant to s 562C(1)(a) of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), the decision appealed against be confirmed.
  1. Pursuant to s 566(1)(b) of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), the stay of the decision appealed against made on 12 January 2021 be revoked.

CATCHWORDS:

INDUSTRIAL LAW – PUBLIC SERVICE APPEAL – appeal against a fair treatment decision – allegations of serious misconduct against the Appellant substantiated – disciplinary finding – where Appellant claims the disciplinary finding is unfair and unreasonable – where Appellant claims procedural unfairness – whether decision was fair and reasonable – where decision-maker is open to substantiate allegations – no finding of procedural unfairness – decision fair and reasonable

LEGISLATION:

Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), s 562B(2), s 562B(3),  s 562C , s 566

Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) s 187, s 194

CASES:

Brandy v Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission [1995] HCA 10; (1995) 183 CLR 245

Goodall v State of Queensland (Unreported decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Dalton J, 10 October 2018).

Gilmour v Waddell & Ors [2019] QSC 170

Reasons for Decision

Introduction

  1. [1]
    Ms Sharon Lalor ("Ms Lalor") is employed by the State of Queensland (Queensland Health) on a permanent part time basis, 0.63 FTE, as an Endorsed Enrolled Nurse, Emergency Department based in the Logan Hospital ("the Department").
  1. [2]
    On 14 December 2020, following a show cause process, the Department wrote to
    Ms Lalor substantiating two allegations against her and proposing disciplinary action in the form of the termination of Ms Lalor's employment. The  two allegations were as follows:

'Allegation one

On 7 May 2020 you created a false entry in the medical records of patient UR 576544 by using the electronic signature of another staff member within ieMR to indicate that the patient had been administered medication when that medication had not been administered.

Allegation two

On 7 May 2020 you inappropriately used another clinician's electronic signature to alter patient UR 576544's medical records within the ieMR system.'

  1. [3]
    No decision has yet been made with respect to the imposition of the proposed  disciplinary action.
  1. [4]
    On 7 January 2021, Ms Lalor appealed against the decision, pursuant to s 194(1)(b)(i) of the Public Service Act 2008 (Qld) ("PS Act").  However, the Department has yet to make a decision imposing disciplinary action.  It appears, rather, that Ms Lalor seeks to review the decision on liability on the basis that the decision was unfair and unreasonable ("a fair treatment decision") pursuant to s 194(1)(eb) of the PS Act.  The Department does not object to the Commission treating the appeal as a fair treatment decision appeal.
  1. [5]
    On 12 January 2021, this Commission ordered that the decision subject of the appeal be stayed until the determination of the appeal or further order of the Commission pursuant to s 566(1) of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld) ("the IR Act").
  1. [6]
    The appeal is made pursuant to s 197 of the PS Act, which provides that an appeal under Ch. 7, Pt. 1 of the PS Act is to be heard and determined under Ch. 11 of the IR Act by the Queensland Industrial Relations Commission.
  1. [7]
    Sections 562B(2) and (3) of the IR Act, which commenced operation on 14 September 2020, replicate the now repealed ss 201(1) and (2) of the PS Act.[1]  Section 562B(3) of the IR Act provides that the purpose of an appeal is to decide whether the decision appealed against was fair or reasonable.  Accordingly, the issue for my determination in this appeal is whether the decision is fair and reasonable.
  1. [8]
    I must decide the appeal by reviewing the decision appealed against.  The word "review" has no settled meaning and, accordingly, it must take its meaning from the context in which it appears.[2]  An appeal under Ch. 7, Pt. 1 of the PS Act is not a re-hearing but, rather, involves a review of the decision arrived at and the decision-making process associated with it.[3]
  1. [9]
    For the reasons contained herein, I have found that the decision was fair and reasonable.

Background

  1. [10]
    The Department, in its submissions, provided the following relevant background to the appeal:

'…

  1. On  admission to a Public Hospital, patients are assigned a unique identifier number (UR number). For the purposes of maintaining patient confidentiality, patients will be referred to in these submissions by their UR number rather than their name or initials.
  1. On 6 May 2020, Patient UR 576544 was admitted as a patient in the ED, Logan Hospital after presenting with abdominal pain and other symptoms.
  1. On 7 May 2020, Patient UR576544 reported to the doctor on duty that he had not received his prescribed medication of intravenous 80mg Pantoprazole, and that when he wanted to leave at midnight, his Peripheral Intravenous Catheter (PIVC) was removed. This was reported to management.
  1. Pantoprazole is a medication used primarily for the treatment of stomach ulcers.

  1. The patient’s ieMR record indicates that they were administered 80mg Pantoprazole at 0637 hours on 7 May 2020 by Discloser One, a Registered Nurse, ED, Logan Hospital, with Ms Lalor as witness. The patient’s PIVC had also been removed the previous evening and not replaced. This was not recorded in the patient’s electronic record.
  1. In accordance with the Logan Hospital, Medication Error Escalation Guideline, Emergency Department (LNH3430), management sought further information from Discloser One, who according to ieMR, had signed and administered the medication. Discloser One denied checking, signing or administering the medication to the patient during her shift. Discloser One further claimed that her electronic signature for ieMR was used without her knowledge or consent, to indicate that she has checked and administered a drug to a patient.
  1. The sequence of events that takes place in ieMR is able to be recorded and played back. Each time a clinician logs into the system, a detailed record is kept of including but not limited to, the records they have accessed, what they have viewed or clicked on within each record, the modifications they make to records, the steps they take, the screens they view and the time they spend on each screen.
  1. Because ieMR records contain identifying patient information including personal details and detailed information about their medical histories, patient confidentiality rights prevent these records from being provided outside of the MSHHS with very few exceptions.
  1. Ms Lalor was provided with the opportunity to review the ieMR playback records and was provided with a summary of the sequence of events shown within the playback. The MSHHS is able to facilitate the QIRC being shown the footage but cannot release these as part of these submissions as noted above.
  1. The ieMR records indicate that contemporaneous to the creation of the record that patient UR576544 was administered Pantoprazole at the computer at the staff base, Discloser One was accessing and entering information under their own username based on cares they were providing to different patients at the computer at beds 7 and 8. A marked floorplan of the short stay ward has been included as Attachment 2 and has beds 7 and 8, along with the staff base marked.

[footnotes omitted]

…'

  1. [11]
    Ms Lalor contends that the decision to substantiate the allegations was unfair and unreasonable including on the basis that the investigation process was unfair.  Ms Lalor further argues that her actions should not be viewed as a deliberate attempt to create a false record. 

Relevant statutory provisions

  1. [12]
    Section 187 of the PS Act provides for the grounds for discipline as follows:

187  Grounds for discipline

  1. (1)
    A public service employee’s chief executive may discipline the employee if the chief executive is reasonably satisfied the employee has—
  1. (a)
    engaged in repeated unsatisfactory performance or serious under performance of the employee’s duties, including, for example, by performing duties carelessly, incompetently or inefficiently; or
  2. (b)
    been guilty of misconduct; or
  3. (c)
    been absent from duty without approved leave and without reasonable excuse; or
  4. (d)
    contravened, without reasonable excuse, a direction given to the employee as a public service employee by a responsible person; or
  5. (e)
    used, without reasonable excuse, a substance to an extent that has adversely affected the competent performance of the employee’s duties; or

(ea)  contravened, without reasonable excuse, a requirement of the chief executive under section 179A (1) in relation to the employee’s appointment, secondment or employment by, in response to the requirement—

  1. (i)
    failing to disclose a serious disciplinary action; or
  2. (ii)
    giving false or misleading information; or
  1. (f)
    contravened, without reasonable excuse, a provision of this Act; or
  2. (g)
    contravened, without reasonable excuse, a relevant standard of conduct in a way that is sufficiently serious to warrant disciplinary action.
  1. (2)
    A disciplinary ground arises when the act or omission constituting the ground is done or made.
  2. (3)
    Also, a chief executive may discipline, on the same grounds mentioned in subsection (1)
  1. (a)
    a public service employee under section 187A; or
  2. (b)
    a former public service employee under section 188A .
  1. (4)
    In this section—

misconduct means—

  1. (a)
    inappropriate or improper conduct in an official capacity; or
  2. (b)
    inappropriate or improper conduct in a private capacity that reflects seriously and adversely on the public service.

Example of misconduct—

victimising another public service employee in the course of the other employee’s employment in the public service

relevant standard of conduct, for a public service employee, means—

  1. (a)
    a standard of conduct applying to the employee under an approved code of conduct under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994; or
  2. (b)
    a standard of conduct, if any, applying to the employee under an approved standard of practice under the Public Sector Ethics Act 1994.

responsible person, for a direction, means a person with authority to give the direction, whether the authority derives from this Act or otherwise.

  1. [13]
    Section 194 of the PS Act relevantly identifies the decisions against which appeals may be made as follows:

194 Decision against which appeals may be made

  1. (1)
    An appeal may be made against the following decisions—

(ea)   a decision a public service employee believes is unfair and unreasonable (a   fair  treatment decision);

Was the decision fair and reasonable?

  1. [14]
    The relevant principles in considering whether a decision is ‘unreasonable’ were outlined by Ryan J in Gilmour v Waddell & Ors:[4] 

The focus of a review of the reasonableness, or unreasonableness, of a decision is on whether the decision is so unreasonable that it lacks intelligent justification in all of the relevant circumstances.

The legal standard of unreasonableness is to be considered by reference to the subject matter, scope and purpose of the statute conferring the power.

A court considering an argument that a decision is unreasonable is not undertaking a merits review. If a decision may be reasonably justified, then it is not an unreasonable decision, even if a reviewing court might disagree with it.[5]

Decision to substantiate allegations not fair or reasonable

  1. [15]
    In this matter, Ms Lalor contends that the decision to substantiate the allegations was not fair and reasonable.  Ms Lalor contends that she was disadvantaged by the complaint and investigation process.  Ms Lalor argues that there is insufficient evidence to establish that she deliberately created a false entry in the ieMR medical records of the patient using the electronic signature of another staff member or that she inappropriately used another clinician's electronic signature to alter the patient's ieMR medical record.

Procedural fairness

  1. [16]
    Ms Lalor raises the following matters, as summarised by the Commission, in support of her submissions that the investigation was procedurally unfair:
  1. (a)
    the Department, upon receipt of the complaint, should have contemporaneously raised the matter with Ms Lalor while the events were still fresh in the mind of Ms Lalor;
  1. (b)
    Ms Lalor was provided a summary in the form of a File Note of Discloser One's interview rather than a script of the questions put to Discloser One and responses given;
  1. (c)
    Ms Lalor was not afforded an interview during the process, despite her requests, whilst Discloser One was interviewed twice;
  1. (d)
    Ms Lalor's request that information be sought from other potential witnesses was ignored; and
  1. (e)
    Discloser One appears to have been led by the interviewer during the course of the interview based on assumptions regarding Ms Lalor's response.
  1. [17]
    The Department submits that the chronology of the show cause process was as follows:

'7.  On 3 June 2020,  Ms Lalor was placed into alternative duties in lieu of being suspended by Dr Michael Cleary, A/Chief Operating Officer, MSHHS. Ms Lalor was notified that allegations had been raised about her conduct which had been referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission (CCC) and the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) (Attachment 1).

  1. On 24 July 2020, Ms Lalor was issued a show cause notice by Associate Professor Ms Noelle Cridland, Executive Director, Logan and Beaudesert Health Service (provided by applicant)…

  1. The show cause notice confirmed with Ms Lalor the evidence being relied upon in relation to the allegations and included copies of the evidence as attachments.
  1. On 24 August 2020, Ms Lalor responded to the allegations in writing (provided by applicant)
  1. Because of contentions raised in Ms Lalor’s response to the allegations, Ms Cridland sought further information about the incident, which included further information about the ieMR, including the actions taken within it by both Ms Lalor and the witness who has been referred to as ‘Discloser One’ as they have obtained Public Interest Discloser (PID) status pursuant to Public Interest Disclosure Act 2010.
  1. Discrepancies between the version of events provided by Ms Lalor in her response to the notice to show cause and the version of events initially recounted by Discloser One were also put to Discloser One for their response and clarification.
  1. On 16 October 2020, Ms Cridland wrote to Ms Lalor to notify her that she had obtained further information about the matter and that because the new information would be taken into account in determining a finding, it was provided to Ms Lalor, and Ms Lalor was afforded a further period of 7 days to provide a response to the additional information (provided by applicant).
  1. On 2 November 2020, Ms Lalor provided a further response to Ms Cridland addressing the new information provided to her (provided by applicant).
  1. On 14 December 2020, after considering Ms Lalor’s responses, Ms Cridland wrote to her substantiating the two (2) allegations against her and proposing the disciplinary action of the termination of Ms Lalor’s employment (supplied by applicant)'
    [footnotes omitted]
  1. [18]
    I consider that Ms Lalor was provided procedural fairness during the course of the show cause process.  The Department placed Ms Lalor on notice in writing with respect to the allegations, including the particulars relied on in support of the allegations. The Department, having already provided her with supporting material, provided Ms Lalor with an opportunity to respond to the allegations and supporting material.  Upon receiving further information during the course of the investigation, the Department disclosed that further information to Ms Lalor and gave her a further opportunity to respond.
  1. [19]
    In this regard, I consider that Ms Lalor was given prior notice of the allegations, provided supporting material and was provided with several opportunities to present her position in writing.
  1. [20]
    I do not consider that it was necessary nor required by the principles of procedural fairness for the Department, upon receipt of the complaint, to contemporaneously place Ms Lalor on notice of the complaint.  As submitted by the Department, to have discussed the complaint informally with Ms Lalor, or to have put the allegations to Ms Lalor in a form other than by written correspondence, would have been inconsistent with the Discipline Policy and potentially inconsistent with the principles of natural justice.
  1. [21]
    In addition, given the serious nature of the allegations and that they were assessed as involving conduct that was potentially corrupt and referred to the Crime and Corruption Commission, it was not appropriate to raise the complaint in an informal manner with Ms Lalor immediately upon receipt of the complaint.
  1. [22]
    Further, Ms Lalor contends that she was provided a file note only of the record of interview with Discloser One and not a transcript of the questions provided to Discloser One and the responses given.
  1. [23]
    A review of the file note reveals that the matters put to Discloser One were included in the file note.  For example:

'…

DH asked […] to comment on whether Sharon Lalor had asked her to witness the action on ieMR that Pantoprazole was not administered to the patient.

[…] stated that SL had not requested that she witness this. […] added she had not provided care for that patient during that shift and her only interaction in the patient's bed space was to provide him with a sandwich. […] was familiar with the patient as she had co-nursed him before. […] stated first she had heard of this issue was when the Clinical Facilitator approached  […] and queried whether  […] had been giving meds to this patient. Confirmed  […] hadn't administered any meds to this patient.

…'

  1. [24]
    Whilst I accept the information is included in a narrative style, I am satisfied that
    Ms Lalor has been put on notice with respect to the matters relevant to the complaint.  It is not suggested by Ms Lalor that the decision appealed against contains references to the information gathered from Discloser One which was not provided to Ms Lalor.
  1. [25]
    Ms Lalor further complains that she was not provided an interview in circumstances where she requested one and Discloser One was interviewed twice. Ms Lalor does not identify any adverse consequence of not being interviewed. 
  1. [26]
    It is accepted that in order to accord with the principles of natural justice, an employee the subject of a show cause process should be given an opportunity to be heard.  That can occur either by hearing from the employee orally or requesting a written response.  It will depend upon the relevant facts of each matter as to which option is the most appropriate in the circumstances.
  1. [27]
    I consider that given the seriousness of the allegation and the evidence relied on, that the disciplinary decision was able to be fairly and properly presented by written submissions from Ms Lalor.  Indeed, by providing Ms Lalor with the written allegations, together with the supporting material, and an opportunity to respond in writing, it could be said that the Department afforded Ms Lalor with a reasonable period of time to consider her response, to take advice if needed, and then to provide a considered written response without fear that she may be taken by surprise in an interview.  In the circumstances, I consider that Ms Lalor was provided with a reasonable opportunity to present her case.
  1. [28]
    A further ground of complaint raised by Ms Lalor is that her request that information be sought from other potential witnesses was ignored.  In Ms Lalor's response dated 2 November 2020, she submits that "…other staff/colleagues should have been interviewed,  closer to the time of the alleged incident, to ask if they recalled advising me that the Discloser was a new member of staff to Logan Hospital Emergency Department who had only been there for a few weeks as well as other matters".
  1. [29]
    Ms Lalor's written submissions in this appeal do not provide any additional information with respect to the identity of the witnesses (beyond identifying them as "colleagues" and "the medical officer" whom she referred to) and what relevant evidence those witnesses could have given.  Further, it was not identified with any particularity as to why any alleged failure to interview those witnesses rendered the decision as not fair or reasonable.
  1. [30]
    Ms Lalor also identifies a complaint with respect to the matters that were put to Discloser One during the course of the interview.  Relevantly, Ms Lalor contends that Discloser One was led during the course of the interview, specifically Ms Lalor submits "[t]he interviewer in this meeting appears to be leading Discloser One in a particular direction based on assumption about the Appellant's initial response".  Ms Lalor fails to submit any further information to identify what she means when she refers in her submissions to "leading… in a particular direction…" and "based on assumption".
  1. [31]
    It is not for this Commission to infer what Ms Lalor means when making the above submissions.  In any event, it is not necessarily unfair or unreasonable for a witness to be asked leading questions during the course of an interview.  Ms Lalor has not presented any information or submission that identifies that the posing of such questions rendered the substantiation of the allegations as not fair or reasonable.

Insufficient evidence

  1. [32]
    Ms Lalor argues that there is insufficient evidence to establish that she deliberately created a false entry in the ieMR medical records of the patient using the electronic signature of another staff member or that she inappropriately used another clinician's electronic signature to alter the patient's ieMR medical records.
  1. [33]
    Ms Lalor contends that it was unfair and unreasonable for the decision-maker to rely solely on the ieMR footage and two interviews with Discloser One.
  1. [34]
    The decision identifies the material relied on in forming the decision.  Relevantly, the decision-maker identifies evidence relied on with respect to allegation one as follows:

'In consideration of your responses, further information was gathered relevant [sic] to the points you raised and the allegation. Records from ieMR were obtained which show the actions taken by Discloser One under their own ieMR login details at the time of the incident (Attachment 1). In addition, Discloser One provided clarification on their movements and actions during the period relevant to allegation one. Discloser One stated they were not present by the bedside of patient UR576544 and they denied the interaction you described in your response had occurred.

This evidence from ieMR shows that Discloser One undertook the following actions on ieMR, using their own log on credentials, related to patient UR011761 between 06:33AM and 06:40AM on 7 May 2020. The records also show these actions were entered using the computer terminal at bed 7 within the short stay areas.

  1. Recorded administration of paracetamol at 06:33AM to patient UR011761.
  2. Recorded administration of IV cephazolin at 06:34AM to patient UR011761. Medication administration witnessed by RN Guy.
  3. Free text input in relation to patient UR011761 status signed at 06:36AM
  4. Recorded vital signs observations recorded 06:39AM of patient UR011761.
  5. Free text input in relation to patient UR011761 status signed at 07:00AM.

In addition to this, data from the ieMR log on records were obtained (Attachment 2). This shows that:

  1. Discloser One logged on to ieMR at 06:17 at terminal QH11323392, located by bed 8 within short stay.
  2. Discloser One logged on to ieMR at 06:30 at terminal QH11323399, located by bed 7 within short stay.
  3. You logged on to ieMR at 06:23 at terminal QH11290217, located at the staff base station within the short stay area. This session  was ended at 06:42.
  4. Discloser One logged on to ieMR at 06:43 at terminal QH11290217, located at the staff base station within the short stay area.

The events detailed within allegation one were undertaken between 06:36AM and 06:38AM at the terminal QH11290217. Considering that this evidence above shows Discloser One was using ieMR under their own credentials between 06:33AM and 06:39, based on the balance of probabilities, I believe it was more likely than not, that Discloser One was providing care to patient UR011761 in the vicinity of bed 7 within short stay at the time the incident referred to within this allegation took place.

In your initial response, you stated that you had left the ieMR open under your log on credentials and left RN Josie at the computer to digitally signed for the medication as not given. In your supplementary response, you stated that due to the passage of time you were not able to remember which computer you were logged on to.

The ieMR log shows that you were logged onto terminal QH11290217 which is located at staff base station of the short stay area at the time of the incident (06:36 to 06:38).

I consider, based on the balance of probabilities, it is more likely than not that you created the entries away from the bedside of patient UR576544 and without the knowledge or consent of the other clinician when creating these entries within the medical record of UR576544.

…'

  1. [35]
    Further, the decision-maker details the evidence relied on in substantiating allegation two as follows:

'… Records from ieMR were obtained which show the actions taken by Discloser One under their own ieMR login details at the time of this incident (Attachment 1). In addition, Discloser One provided clarification on their movements and actions during the period relevant to allegation two. Discloser One stated they were not present by the bedside of patient UR576544. In addition, Discloser One denied they had discussed this matter with you and had not electronically signed or authorised their electronic signature to be used on this medication record.

The evidence from ieMR shows that Discloser One undertook the following actions on ieMR, using their own log on credentials, related to patient UR011761 between 06:33AM and 06:40AM on 7 May 2020. The records also show these actions were entered using computer terminals at bed 7 within the short stay area.

  1. Recorded administration of paracetamol at 06:33AM to patient UR011761.
  2. Recorded administration of IV Cephazolin at 06:34am to patient UR011761. Medication administration witnessed by RN Guy
  3. Free text input in relation to patient UR011761 status signed at 06:36AM
  4. Vital sign observations recorded 06:39AM of patient UR011761.
  5. Free text input in relation to patient UR011761 status signed at 07:00AM.

In addition to this, data from ieMR log on records were obtained (Attachment 2). This shows that:

  1. Discloser One logged on to ieMR at 06:17 at terminal QH11323392, located by bed 8 within short stay.
  2. Discloser One logged on to ieMR at 06:30 at terminal QH11323399, located by bed 7 within short stay.
  3. You logged on to ieMR at 06:23 at terminal QH11290217, located at the staff base station within the short stay area. This session  was ended at 06:42.
  4. Discloser One logged on to ieMR at 06:43 at terminal QH11290217, located at the staff base station within the short stay area.

The events detailed within allegation two were undertaken between 06:36AM and 06:38AM at the terminal QH11290217. Considering that this evidence above shows Discloser One was using ieMR under their own credentials between 06:33AM and 06:39AM, based on the balance of probabilities, I believe it was more likely than not, that Discloser One was providing care to patient UR011761 in the vicinity of bed 7 and 8 within short stay at the time the incident referred to within this allegation took place.

In your response you stated that you were logged onto an ieMR terminal but due to the passage of time since the incident you could not remember which terminal you were logged on to. The ieMR log shows that at the time of the incident you were logged onto terminal QH11290217 which is located at the staff base of the short stay area.

In addition to this, the ieMR live playback between 06:36AM and 06:38AM shows that you viewed patient UR576544 MAR(Medication Administration Record) and could see administration of IV medication was overdue, which you confirmed in your first response. The playback shows you then exited the MAR and viewed the short stay overview which included staffing information. This footage shows that you appear to do this for the purpose of identifying the name of an RN caring for patients within the short stay unit in adjoining beds. The footage shows the cursor hover over an icon which then displays Discloser One's name. The footage then shows you immediately return to the MAR of patient UR576544 and you record the IV medication was administered by Discloser One and you acted as checker.

In your response to your statement that it is not possible for a staff member to electronically sign a record without entering their login credentials. I have checked this with an ieMR system specialist and confirm this is not the case. The ieMR system does not require a user to enter their login credentials to use either their own or another user's electronic signature.

I consider, based on the balance of probabilities, it is more likely than not, that you used the electronic signature of another clinician without their knowledge or consent. Consequently, based on the information available to me, I consider this allegation is substantiated on the balance of probabilities.'

  1. [36]
    The above extracts from the decision identifies that the decision-maker relied on a body of evidence that included evidence from Discloser One, evidence from ieMR which identifies the actions of Discloser One and Ms Lalor on ieMR, the ieMR log of records and the ieMR live playback.  Relevantly, evidence of the ieMR live playback showed footage of Ms Lalor[6] which included her recording that the intravenous medication was administered by Discloser One.  Ms Lalor does not contest the accuracy of that footage.
  1. [37]
    I am satisfied that the decision details the evidence relied on in substantiating the allegations.  Further, I consider that it was open on that evidence for the decision-maker to determine that Ms Lalor engaged in the behaviour as found, including, but not limited to, the finding that the entries were created by Ms Lalor and that Ms Lalor used the electronic signature of another clinician without their knowledge and consent.

Conclusion

  1. [38]
    For the reasons referred to above, I consider that the decision was fair and reasonable.

Orders

  1. [39]
    I make the following orders:
  1. Pursuant to s 562C(1)(a) of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), the decision appealed against be confirmed.
  1. Pursuant to s 566(1)(b) of the Industrial Relations Act 2016 (Qld), the stay of the decision appealed against made on 12 January 2021 be revoked.

Footnotes

[1] See the Public Service and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2020 (Qld).

[2] Brandy v Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission [1995] HCA 10; (1995) 183 CLR 245, 261 (Mason CJ, Brennan and Toohey JJ).

[3] Goodall v State of Queensland (Unreported decision of the Supreme Court of Queensland, Dalton J, 10 October 2018).

[4] [2019] QSC 170, [207] – [209].

[5] Ibid [207]-[209].

[6] It was accepted by Ms Lalor that she logged into an ieMR terminal.

Close

Editorial Notes

  • Published Case Name:

    Lalor v State of Queensland (Queensland Health)

  • Shortened Case Name:

    Lalor v State of Queensland (Queensland Health)

  • MNC:

    [2021] QIRC 320

  • Court:

    QIRC

  • Judge(s):

    Member Hartigan IC

  • Date:

    17 Sep 2021

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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