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BMA will support female GPs in discrimination claim against GP at Hand owner

BMA will support female GPs in discrimination claim against GP at Hand owner

Exclusive The BMA will support female GPs who have been made redundant by GP at Hand owner eMed, after legal advice showed there is an ‘actionable claim’ for indirect discrimination.

The online NHS GP provider, which serves around 100,000 patients in London after being launched by Babylon in 2017, was taken over by US company eMed last year.

Since then, Pulse revealed that eMed launched a large-scale redundancy consultation earlier this year, with as many as 150 clinicians potentially at risk and affecting ‘mainly GPs’.

But the BMA said the process could be in breach of regulations and indirectly discriminatory because it targets only GPs who are contracted to work 12 hours or less a week, and thereby disproportionately affects female members of staff.

Now, in a recent update seen by Pulse, the BMA has committed to fully funding legal action ‘for all members who are female and have been dismissed using this criteria’.

The letter said that solicitors will start proceedings by making an employment tribunal claim once GPs have been dismissed, and together the claims will form a ‘group action’.

Compensation for each GP is expected to be ‘somewhere in the region of £5,000’, as well as any further award for ‘loss of earnings arising from their dismissal’.

The BMA industrial relations team wrote: ‘We have received legal opinion which supports our initial view that there is an actionable claim against eMed for indirect discrimination on the grounds of gender as a result of your employer’s insistence on using the less than 12 hours selection criteria.’

Any employment tribunal would need to first assess whether or not eMed has ‘acted in a discriminatory manner’, and the BMA plans to use ‘test claimants’ for this part of the tribunal, meaning all claimants do not need to attend.

If the claims were successful, the tribunal would then establish the amount of compensation to be awarded to each individual.

‘It is entirely up to the individual doctor whether you wish to be involved in this legal action although we hope you do as it is important to challenge discriminatory practice by employers,’ the union told GPs.

Only GPs who were BMA members before the ‘at risk of redundancy’ notification was issued by eMed will be entitled to financial support for the legal claim, however those who were not may still receive advice and guidance.

In March, the head of BMA London James Steen told all eMed employees: ‘As membership was not active at the point in time when the “at risk of redundancy” notification was issued, we will be unable to support any legal claims (i.e. unfair dismissal or failure to meaningfully to consult) which may arise out of this process for those doctors who were not in membership at that time but have subsequently joined the union.’

Affected GPs have also been urged to go through the internal appeal process with eMed as employment tribunals ‘can reduce any compensation if the internal processes have not been exhausted’.

The BMA said it has been in discussions with eMed for ‘many months’, warning the company that its redundancy process is ‘flawed’.

A spokesperson for the union added: ‘eMed has failed to listen or engage with the BMA. We will always stand up for BMA members treated unfairly by any employer, particularly when they face losing their livelihood through no fault of their own.’

In April, eMed told Pulse it was ‘fully’ complying with legislative requirements surrounding the redundancy process, and that it does not recognise the BMA since the union does not represent all types of clinicians who are at risk.

It is unknown how many GPs are involved in the process.

Pulse has approached eMed for comment.



Please note, only GPs are permitted to add comments to articles

John Glasspool 31 May, 2024 5:58 pm

BMA supporting GPs? It must be April 1st somewhere.

Dave Haddock 31 May, 2024 6:03 pm

Suspect supporting GPs because the opposition is an American private company, whose very existence deeply upsets the Comrades.
The irony of the BMA claim to support women’s rights given recent events is particularly amusing.

So the bird flew away 31 May, 2024 8:47 pm

The BMA gets a lot wrong and I’m no big fan of them, but in supporting women’s rights they’re bang on. Surely dave you don’t really mean that supporting women’s rights means they must be Commies?
And who uses the word Comrades these days….it’s so 1950s….