A Chinese medicine practitioner whose starvation diet helped former prime minister Malcolm Turnbull lose weight has lost a bid to end his suspension.
Shuquan Liu, whose company has two clinics in NSW and one each in Victoria and Queensland, was suspended from practising by the Chinese Medicine Council of NSW last September after it received a complaint about the death of a 41-year-old patient undertaking Dr Liu's "101 Wellbeing Program".
The NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal this week rejected Dr Liu's application to stay the council's decision pending an appeal to the tribunal.
Dr Liu argued at the tribunal that he'd been denied procedural fairness and he had a strong case that would succeed on appeal.
But this victory would be "pyrrhic" by the time the appeal was decided because of the adverse impact on his patients and he may have to close down clinics or fire staff.
His 101 Wellbeing program is reported to have helped Mr Turnbull and media personalities Eddie McGuire and Zoe Marshall shed weight by drinking herbal tonic, water and tea for two weeks before being allowed small portions of cucumber and chicken.
The patient who died had a congenital heart condition and hypertension, the tribunal said.
Two other complaints had been made to the Chinese medicine council about the program, but the tribunal said that did not establish that it was a risk to the public.
"A risk assessment, whether concerning the 101 Wellbeing treatment program specifically or the practitioner's practice more broadly, is best undertaken by a decision maker with access to specific disciplinary knowledge about Chinese Medicine," the tribunal said in its decision.
While it accepted the suspension has damaged Dr Liu's business, it did not find "his practice will be entirely and irredeemably lost by the time the appeal is determined in the coming months".