The Bundaberg Hospital Commission of Inquiry was shut down by order of the Supreme Court, made on 2 September 2005. The order stated reasonable apprehension of bias by the Commissioner towards the applicants Darren Keating and Peter Leck.
The Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry (QPHCI) was appointed by Commissions of Inquiry Order (No 2) 2005, dated 6 September 2005. Geoffrey Davis AO was appointed Commissioner.
On 8 September 2005, the "Public Records Amendment Regulation (No. 1) 2005" transferred custody and possession of the records of the previous Inquiry to the new Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry.
The Commission commenced its first public hearing on Thursday 8 September 2005. Commissioner Davies ruled amongst other things, that the whole of the evidence admitted in the Bundaberg Hospital Commission of Inquiry constituted by Commissions of Inquiry Order (No 1) of 2005, other than the evidence of Mr Leck and Dr Keating and any documents tendered as exhibits during the evidence of either of them be admitted as evidence in this Inquiry.
The Terms of Reference for this second inquiry were amended in some parts by Commissions of Inquiry Amendment Order (No 1) 2005, dated 23 September 2005. The Commission was to make full and careful inquiry into the following matters:
(a) The role and conduct of the Queensland Medical Board in relation to the assessment, registration and monitoring of overseas-trained medical practitioners, with particular reference to Dr Jayant Patel and persons claiming to be overseas-trained medical practitioners.
(b) (i) Any substantive allegations, complaints or concerns relating to the clinical practice and procedures conducted by Dr Patel at the Bundaberg Base Hospital
(ii) the employment of Dr Patel by Queensland Health
(iii) the appointment of Dr Patel to the Bundaberg Base Hospital
(iii) (iv) the adequacy of the response by Queensland Health to any complaints received by it concerning Dr Patel; and
(iv) (v) whether or not there were any reprisals or threatened reprisals made by any official of Queensland Health against any person who made the complaints referred to in (iii) (iv) above.
(c) Any substantive allegations, complaints or concerns relating to the clinical practice and procedures conducted by other medical practitioners, or persons claiming to be medical practitioners, at the Bundaberg Base Hospital or other Queensland Public Hospitals raised at the Commission of Inquiry established by Commissions of Inquiry Order (No. 1) of 2005.
(d) The appropriateness, adequacy and timeliness of action taken to deal with any of the allegations, complaints or concerns referred to in (a), (b) and (c) above, both:
(i) within the Bundaberg Base Hospital; and
(ii) outside the Bundaberg Base Hospital.
(e) In relation to (a) to (d) above, whether there is sufficient evidence to justify:
(i) referral of any matter to the Commissioner of the Police Service for investigation or prosecution; or
(ii) action by the Crime and Misconduct Commission in respect of official
misconduct or disciplinary matters
(iii) the bringing of disciplinary or other proceedings or the taking of other action against or in respect of any person; or
(iv) amendments to the Coroners Act 2003 in relation to appropriate reporting of deaths caused by or as a result of a health procedure.
(f) For the purpose of clarification and the removal of doubt, the phrase 'substantive allegations, complaints or concerns relating to the clinical practice and procedures' in (b) and (c) hereof includes allegations, complaints or concerns relating to acts or omissions by current and former employees of the Queensland Department of Health which relate to clinical practices or procedures conducted by medical practitioners or persons claiming to be medical practitioners including acts or omissions relating to waiting lists both for patients referred to specialist outpatient's appointments and for surgical procedures.'
The Commissioner was to make full report and recommendations concerning these matters and transmit them to the Honourable the Premier and Treasurer and to the Crime and Misconduct Commission before 30 November 2005. The report was also to be made public.
CONDUCT OF THE INQUIRY:
The Commission sat for a total of 30 days hearing evidence from a further 37 witnesses and receiving just over 200 further exhibits.
The Commission produced a report presenting the findings and making recommendations to all matters listed in the Terms of Reference. Among other things Commissioner Davis recommended that the conduct of Dr Jayant Patel in relation to securing a position at Bundaberg Hospital, offences of assault, grievous bodily harm and manslaughter be referred to the Queensland Police Service for further investigation. He also recommended that Dr Keating be further investigated by the Queensland Police Service as well as the Crime and Misconduct Commission and that Mr Leck be prosecuted by the Crime and Misconduct Commission for official misconduct. Further, Commissioner Davies presented findings relating to Townsville, Charters Towers, Rockhampton and the Prince Charles Hospitals and various Medical Practitioners at these hospitals. Finally he recommended amendments to the "Coroners Act 2003" and the procedures relating to this Act.
The Queensland Public Hospitals Commission of Inquiry presented its report on 30 November 2005 and concluded its work on that date.