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Appeal against complaint ruling

The Department of Health has lodged an appeal against a landmark ruling which gives GPs the right to argue for legal representation in PCT complaints hearings.

The High Court ruled in January in favour of two GPs who argued they were denied 'natural justice' at hearings on their removal from their PCTs' performers lists because they had not had the right to repre-sentation and to cross-examine witnesses.

Department guidelines on hearings stated only that GPs should be given the opportunity to put their case at an oral hearing.

Mr Justice Toulson backed Dr Jayanti Kumar Ghosh of Blyth, Northumberland, and a Know-sley doctor known only as Dr S who had been suspended from their PCTs' performers lists.

He said GPs should have the right to ask for legal representation, but that it would not be appropriate to grant it in every case and GPs should negotiate with their PCT first.

The department said the decision could lead to greater complexity and divert resources away from patient care.

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