Employment: Case Studies
Barts Health NHS Trust is the largest NHS Trust in the UK serving a population of over a million in east London, with a workforce of over 15,000 staff and a turnover of around 1.2 billion pounds.
Barts Health was created on 1 April 2012 (following the merger of Barts and The London NHS Trust, Newham University Hospital NHS Trust and Whipps Cross University Hospital NHS Trust) and consists of five main local hospital sites:
- Newham University Hospital
- St Bartholomew’s Hospital
- The Royal London Hospital
- The London Chest Hospital
- Whipps Cross University Hospital
We provided strategic and transactional support to the merger project. Work highlights included advising on the co-ordination of staff transfers; recruitment to a new merged organisational structure and redundancy selection and implementation.
Doctors Disciplinary Work
We are the leading national healthcare firm specialising in Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS (MHPS), the national framework for dealing with conduct, capability and ill health concerns involving doctors.
- Chhabra v West London Mental Health NHS Trust (advised by Gary Hay): following a hearing on 1 June 2012 in the High Court before HHJ McMullen QC, it was found that the Trust could not proceed with a misconduct hearing (and should deal with all matters under a separate capability process) on several grounds, including that the disciplinary allegations could not constitute gross misconduct. This was appealed to the Court of Appeal after a positive leave to appeal hearing, and the substantive (expedited) appeal hearing took place on 4 and 5 December 2012, with judgment in favour of the Trust.
- Kerslake v North West London Hospitals NHS Trust (advised by Andrew Rowland): following a five-day hearing in March 2012 in the High Court before HHJ Curran QC, it was found that the Trust could proceed with an internal process outside of MHPS to consider whether or not the doctor should be dismissed for “some other substantial reason”, namely a breakdown in working relationships between her and her colleagues. The doctor has argued that such a process must take place within the MHPS framework. The case is important for NHS organisations in establishing that they can take such action outside of the formal national framework, entirely in accordance with a local procedure. The decision was not appealed by the doctor.
Our HR Advisory Service was appointed by the NHSE to provide the HR advice and support around the transfer of NHS staff into the NHSE and the population of its new structure. This is a key national project linked to the implementation of the Health and Social Care Act 2012 reforms and has involved advising on the “people mapping” process of transferring into the NHSE approximately 3,000 staff from other NHS organisations.
Consolidation of Pathology Services
We have advised a number of individual Trusts and consortia of trusts on the issues arising on the consolidation of their pathology services. This work has been as a result of a general review of pathology arrangements within the NHS necessary to release savings and to improve productivity. The advice provided has been in relation to the different joint venture models which clients have considered and introduced and the complex transfer and secondment models which are being used. Assistance with the due diligence, consultation and workforce re-organisation has been provided as well as risk share arrangements in relation to the employees of the joint venture. We have assisted clients in negotiating common terms and conditions amongst consortia members and where organisational change is occurring, the related transfer and redundancy consultation obligations.
We advised the successful PCT in the defence of a landmark claim for unfair dismissal and age discrimination. Mr Woodcock was dismissed from his post as Chief Executive just prior to his 50th birthday. Had he remained in employment until he was 50, he would have received a large pension enhancement totalling more than £500,000, over and above his standard pension. He claimed that the main reason for his dismissal was on the grounds of his age, namely his impending 50th birthday. The Tribunal accepted this contention but concluded that the discrimination was justified in order to prevent Mr Woodcock from receiving a windfall.
This position has been upheld by the Court of Appeal, with an important ruling on the extent to which costs alone/costs linked to other considerations can be an objective justification in indirect discrimination claims.