22nd May, 2023

Employment Team: Healthcare roundup

All members of our employment team are experienced in healthcare work and collectively, across all levels of Call, we have seen an upturn in such instructions within recent months. With a strong reputation for success healthcare work, 9SJS counsel are often highly sought after to represent both Trust and Claimant’s up such cases.

Practice Manager, Julia Lanza says, "In 2022, our team saw unprecedented levels of instructions in healthcare work. This has continued into 2023. We have Counsel available at all levels with considerable experience in this area. As a group, we have noticed particular growth in reasonable adjustments claims in the healthcare environment both pre and post the pandemic."

Here is a summary round up of our recent work:

  • Nigel Grundy and Katie Nowell successfully represented two separate trusts (the employer and entity for whom the service was provided) in resisting a reasonable adjustments claim brought by a Clinical Psychologist (Band 6). The Claimant alleged they were prevented from working effectively due to lengthy delays in the provision of adjustments which ultimately, it was argued, led to redundancy under the Organisation for Change initiative. In assessing the reasonableness of the adjustments arguments covered:  (1) the involvement of two trusts; (2) the procurement process and necessary sign off for purchase of equipment; (3) the compatibility of equipment with the trusts’ internal network (“System One”); (4) the impact of Covid-19 the procurement process; and (5) the need to provide a workable service for patients.
  • Joanne Connolly provided advice to a Respondent Trust on specific issues which can be caused by the transfer of information in the electronic service records between the NHS and Inter-Authorities.
  • Rachael Levene acted for an NHS Trust delivering mass vaccinations in the Covid-19 pandemic. The Claimant claimed protection from detriment as a whistleblower. The alleged disclosure related to the delivery of a vaccination to a vulnerable patient. Final judgment is awaited.
  • Louise Quigley acted for a Trust in 5-day remedy hearing in which the Claimant as seeking career long losses, including personal injury. Louise core arguments covered five key points of dispute: (1) likelihood of career progression from Associate Specialist to Consultant; (2) application of CESR requirements; (3) PA allocation, job plan and likely pay grade; (4) impact on locum work (5) impact on potential private practice.
  • Amy Smith successfully secured strike out of claims of disability discrimination at a preliminary hearing.  The Tribunal agreed with the submissions of Amy that the Claimant's failures to comply with Tribunal orders was of such significant magnitude that a fair trial within the trial window was no longer possible. The numerous claims of various different acts of disability discrimination were not allowed to proceed.
  • Jennie Ferrario defended a racial harassment claim for an NHS Ambulance Trust. The key issue was the reasonable steps defence. Whilst it was accepted the alleged comments were made, the employer argued proper preventative action had been taken. Cases of Allay (UK) Ltd v Gehlen [2021] IRLR 348 & Cunliffe v East Riding of Yorkshire Council [2000] IRLR 55 were considered, judgment is awaited.

  • Laura Kaye, instructed for the Claimant and Isabel Baylis for the Respondent, were opposing Counsel in a disability discrimination claim. The Claimant was disabled by virtue of a speech impediment and applied for a position Subject Access Coordinator with the Trust. Following success at interview, the Claimant requested some reasonable adjustments to accommodate his disability. The employer argued it could not accommodate the Claimant and withdrew the offer of employment. A remedy hearing is listed in the Summer.


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