Former CQ doctor fails in latest attempt to get job back

A FORMER Central Queensland doctor trying to clear his name and be registered to work again after allegations 10 years ago has had his latest efforts denied.

Doctor John Chibanda was working at the Emerald Hospital when he was suspended in 2009 after seven complaints about his clinical practice were made and it was revealed he failed to disclosure a criminal conviction he received in his native country, Zimbabwe.

In 2009, then Health Minister Paul Lucas said patient files were reviewed, but no deaths had occurred.

He revealed there had been about 12 complaints about Dr Chibanda's work in Emerald from nurses and patients and that the doctor was stood down from obstetrics in August 2008, but continued to work in emergency and other areas of the hospital.

Read more here: Medico stood down amid fraud claims

A story by CQ News in February 2010 stated he had been suspended in 2009 and was cleared to work on February 1, 2010 and was working on a supervised upskilling program at Rockhampton Hospital.

Dr Chibanda had been cleared for work while three investigations were underway by he Health Quality and Complaints Commission, the Medical Board of Queensland and Queensland Health's Ethical Standards Unit.

Read the full story here: Suspended doctor cleared

A decision handed down by Queensland's Court of Appeal on June 30, 2020, written by Justice Peter Davis outlined the history of the case including the doctor's clinical privileges for obstetrics and gynaecology having been suspended pending his undertaking of further training; issues had arisen concerning the professional supervision of Dr Chibanda; and seven complaints about Dr Chibanda's clinical practice had been received.

"On November 4, 2009, the applicant was suspended from duty on full remuneration," Justice Davis wrote.

"The grounds said to justify the suspension were allegations of "official misconduct" and the decision maker's finding that she "reasonably believed that due to the nature of the allegations against (the applicant) that (the applicant) may be liable to disciplinary action.

"The decision to suspend the applicant is not one the applicant seeks to judicially review, but the fact that "official misconduct" was alleged is significant."

The Medical Board of Queensland wrote to Dr Chibanda in January 2010 about investigations underway.

A month later, the board refused Dr Chibanda's application for renewal of his special purpose registration.

Dr Chibanda sought judicial review of the renewal refusal decision, and relief, but not against the Queensland board - against the Medical Board of Australia which, upon the introduction of the National Law, assumed the position previously occupied by the Queensland board.

The reason for his renewal refusal was published in the document, showing Dr Chibanda had not made reasonable progress towards being qualified for General, Specialist or Special Purpose registration, nor could the board find him fit for practise as a Senior Medical Officer at the Emerald Hospital.

Dr Chibanda proposed to introduce new evidence into the matter which included his marital difficulties; he sought relief from both Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal and Queensland Industrial Relations as a result of his dismissal; the respondents delayed in releasing relevant documents to him; and his own time spent making inquiries into the misconduct allegations.

Justice Davis wrote even if the new evidence was admitted, none of it would overcome the critical matters in the case which included the refusal to renew the doctor's special purpose registration; along with an avenue of appeal made through QCAT which was filed in February 2010 and withdrawn in June 2010.