Dr Kulkarni, employed by an NHS Trust, was facing charges of serious professional misconduct. The Trust refused him permission to bring a legal representative to the internal dismissal meeting, saying that under the disciplinary procedure, ‘Maintaining High Professional Standards in the Modern NHS’ (MHPS), there was no right to legal representation.
Dr Kulkarni challenged this decision and won before the Court of Appeal. The court construed the MHPS to mean that Dr Kulkarni was entitled to be legally represented at the disciplinary hearing due to the serious consequences if he was found guilty.
The decision applies to all employed NHS Trust doctors and dentists facing serious disciplinary charges of misconduct or on capability. The decision strongly suggests that for all employees of public bodies, any internal disciplinary proceedings which may result in dismissal and effective prevention from continuing to practise, must comply with Article 6 of the ECHR.
Dr Kunal Kulkarni v Milton Keynes Hospital NHS Foundation Trust