Dentist wins judicial review

A dentist has won a ‘highly significant ruling’ after successfully appealing against a decision to be awarded a zero valued GDS contract.

The British Dental Association (BDA) supported the appeal, through the use of judicial review proceedings, against the NHS Litigation Authority.

The case, heard by Mr Justice Goldring, came to court after the dentist had been awarded a zero valued general dental services (GDS) contract by Hillingdon Primary Care Trust.

The dentist, who did not work for Hillingdon during the test year but was in contract at 31 March 2006, appealed against the PCT’s belief that it had absolute discretion to award the contract value it thought fit. The NHS Litigation Authority supported the primary care trust.

The BDA then intervened in support of the dentist’s decision to apply to the Administrative Court for judicial review.

The Litigation Authority accepted that it had acted unlawfully by not taking into account information in its possession about the dentist’s GDS activity between October 2005 and March 2006. By a Consent Order, the case has now been referred back to the PCT to award a contract value that takes account of the practitioner’s GDS activity and all proper considerations. Additionally, the dentist was awarded costs.

Peter Ward, chief executive of the British Dental Association, hailed the victory, saying: ‘We’re pleased to have been able to support our member achieve this highly significant ruling.

‘This demonstrates that, in cases where a dentist has no activity during the test period and where an unreasonably low contract value has been awarded, it’s possible to infer that a PCT has not had adequate regard to all the circumstances.’

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