Monday 15 June 2015

Employment Status of GP

Thanks to John Cook of SAS Daniels LLP for preparing this case summary
Was a GP, who provided his services to an NHS Trust through a Cooperative, either an employee or a worker for employment law purposes?

No, held the EAT in Suhail v Barking Havering & Redbridge NHS Trust.

The Claimant, Dr Suhail, worked as an out-of-hours GP and also provided his services from time to time, through a Cooperative, to the NHS Trust at the Urgent Care Centre at Queens Hospital. He was described in the members' agreement of the Cooperative as a self employed contractor, rendering invoices which were paid without deduction of Tax and NIC. There was no obligation on the Cooperative to provide work, nor for the Claimant to accept assignments when offered. He provided his services personally and was free to work for any other organisation. The Claimant actively marketed himself to whichever locum agency offered the most attractive sessional work.

HHJ Judge Peter Clark contrasted the position in Hospital Medical Group Ltd v Westwood. In that case, Dr Westwood was a general practitioner and senior partner in a medical practice in Timperley, Cheshire. He also had an interest in minor surgery and carried out hair restoration procedures for the Hospital Medical Group Ltd. Dr Westwood was found to be a worker but not an employee. Although it was noted that cases of this kind are particularly fact sensitive, the essential point in Westwood was that, although Dr Westwood had other "jobs" he had agreed to provide his services as a hair restoration surgeon exclusively to Hospital Medical Group, he did not offer that service to the world in general, and he was recruited by them to work as an integral part of its operations.

That exclusivity was wholly missing on the facts of the present case. Dr Suhail was free to work or not as often as he chose and wherever he chose. The organisations he worked for were clients/customers of Dr Suhail. On that basis he was neither an employee nor a worker for employment law purposes.

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