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[Thanks to Laurie Anstis of Boyes Turner who is standing in for Daniel Barnett during holiday absence, and to Dr John McMullen of Wrigleys Solicitors LLP for preparing this case summary ]

Was a GP carrying out hair restoration procedures for a private clinic a 'worker' for the purposes of employment legislation?

Yes, says the Court of Appeal in The Hospital Medical Group Limited v Westwood .

Dr Colin Westwood is a GP with his own practice. Having developed an interest in minor surgery, he was approached by Hospital Medical Group Ltd to undertake procedures relating to hair restoration on its behalf. HMG engages surgeons with practices in their own right and none are engaged on contracts of employment. Mr Westwood's engagement was terminated. An employment tribunal ruled he was not an employee but found he was a worker under section 230 (3)(b) of the Employment Right Act 1996 in order to hear claims relating to unlawful deductions from wages and accrued holiday pay. The EAT agreed.

The Court of Appeal upheld these decisions.

HMG's principal argument was that the definition of worker in s 230(3)(b) excludes a person who provides services to a 'client or customer' of any profession or business carried on by him.

But the Court of Appeal held that it was wrong to regard HMG as Dr Westwood's 'client or customer'. HMG was not just another purchaser of Dr Westwood's medical skills. Apart from his other work he contracted specifically and exclusively to carry out hair restoration surgery on behalf of HMG and was referred to as 'one of our surgeons'. He was clearly an integral part of HMG's undertaking and providing services even though he was in business on his own account.