High court rules on trust's power to discipline

BMJ 1996; 312 doi: (Published 27 January 1996) Cite this as: BMJ 1996;312:204

The High Court ruled last week that an NHS trust had the power to discipline two doctors for failing to properly diagnose and treat a small boy, even though the trust was not the doctors' employer at the time that the incident happened.

Mr Justice Sedley clarified a “state of confusion” over the effect of the 1994 NHS reforms on managements' powers to discipline hospital doctors for mistakes that predated the changes. The judge said that his ruling would help to resolve legal problems, potentially affecting 2000 doctors.

The case also established that an individual who thinks a public body has misunderstood its powers in taking a decision can seek redress through the courts. …

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