Dr. Patel had surgical privileges in the respondent, Regina Qu’Appelle Regional Health Authority (the “Health Authority”). Dr. Patel commenced an application for judicial review while he was still involved in a discipline process of the Health Authority. The Health Authority’s Senior Medical Officer successfully applied to quash the application for judicial review.
Administrative law – Decisions reviewed – Health Authorities – Professional governance and discipline – Jurisdiction – Judicial review – Appeals – Physicians and surgeons – Disciplinary proceedings – Hospital privileges
Patel v. Regina Qu’appelle Regional Health Authority,  S.J. No. 567, 2017 SKQB 377, Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, December 18, 2017, J.L. Pritchard J.
Dr. Patel had surgical privileges in the respondent, Regina Qu’Appelle Regional Health Authority (the “Health Authority”). In June 2016, the Senior Medical Officer (“SMO”) of the Health Authority provided written notice to Dr. Patel, advising of the immediate suspension of his surgical privileges. The Board of the Health Authority convened a meeting to consider the SMO’s recommendation. In July 2016, the Board confirmed the decision to suspend Dr. Patel’s surgical privileges. As part of its decision, the Board referred the matter to the Discipline Committee of the Health Authority, pursuant to the Bylaws of the Health Authority. In November 2016, a Discipline Committee was appointed and provided a 6-page notice of the allegations to be addressed. The hearing commenced in November 2016.
In July 2016, Dr. Patel filed a notice of appeal with the Practitioner Staff Appeals Tribunal (the “Tribunal”). The Tribunal is established pursuant to statute. In the notice of appeal, Dr. Patel argued that the Board made several procedural and substantive errors in its decision. The Tribunal hearing was scheduled and then adjourned at Dr. Patel’s request.
At the time of the hearing by the Court, the Discipline Committee hearing was still ongoing after 27 non-consecutive days of evidence. The Tribunal had still not conducted its appeal hearing.
In the Court hearing, the SMO argued that Dr. Patel’s application was a statutory appeal disguised as an application for judicial review. The SMO argued the Court did not have jurisdiction until the statutory process had been exhausted. Dr. Patel argued that he had a concurrent right to bring an application for review without first seeking recourse from statutory appeal boards. Dr. Patel argued the relevant statute did not grant exclusive jurisdiction to the Tribunal. Dr. Patel relied on a previous decision in “Sood” where the Court allowed an application for judicial review even though the physician did not undertake the administrative appeal process.
The Court reviewed the statutory framework relevant to the SMO’s recommendation, the Board’s decision, and the Tribunal’s jurisdiction. The Court distinguished the decision in Sood as the administrative framework in that case was sparse and based on the Bylaws (rather than legislation). The Court observed that the appeal process for Dr. Patel was set out in statute. The Court next considered whether there was an adequate alternative remedy, and found the statute, regulations, and Bylaws provided a comprehensive regulatory framework to address the rights and obligations in dispute.
The Court held that its jurisdiction, with respect to the suspension of Dr. Patel’s privileges, did not arise until after the Tribunal rendered a decision. The Court also held there was no extraordinary circumstance that compelled the Court to interfere with the ongoing regulatory process.
The Court allowed the application of the SMO, and dismissed Dr. Patel’s application for judicial review. Costs were awarded to the SMO.
This case was digested by Scott J. Marcinkow, and first published in the LexisNexis® Harper Grey Administrative Law Netletter and the Harper Grey Administrative Law Newsletter. If you would like to discuss this case further, please contact Scott Marcinkow at firstname.lastname@example.org.