DoH loses appeal in Eddie Crouch case

Eddie Crouch has scored a victory against the government after it failed to overturn a court ruling that protects the employment rights of dentists.

The Department of Health lost its appeal against a judicial review won by Dr Eddie Crouch, which forced it to remove controversial legislation from its NHS dental contract.

The Birmingham orthodontist – and founder of the dental pressure group Challenge DoH – had fought against South Birmingham Primary Care Trust (PCT) last year over a clause in the NHS Dental Contract that allowed bosses to terminate dental contracts without cause or notice.

The Department of Health mounted the appeal to have the decision overturned, saying that health bosses needed such a power.

But the decision by Lord Dyson, supported by the Master of the Rolls sitting in the Court of Appeal, rejected this claim in a move that is set to benefit dentists nationwide.

The ruling means all dentists with Personal Dental Service contracts, which affects about 3,000 dental practices and specialists such as orthodontics, will no longer contain the clause.

Dr Crouch contested the contract offered to him before the new NHS dental contracts in April 2006 but signed it in dispute to ensure he could continue to provide NHS care to his patients.

The Court of Appeal upheld Mr Justice Collins’s ruling in February that the reasons by which a PCT can end a contract are set out in legislation and that a PCT must abide by legitimate termination reasons.

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