Sunday 25 September 2016

TV doctor 'can return to South Dublin medical surgery' - High Court injunction

Aodhan O'Faolain.

Published 15/08/2016 | 20:42

Nina Byrnes
Nina Byrnes

Well known doctor Nina Byrnes has secured a temporary High Court injunction restoring her to possession of a medical surgery she has been operating at a South Dublin shopping centre.

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Dr Byrnes has presented the TV shows “Health of the Nation” for RTE and “Doctor in the House” for TV3.

She sought an injunction in respect of a GP surgery trading under the name “Generation Health'  on the 1st Floor, Glenageary Shopping Centre, Glenageary Rd Upper, Glenageary, Co. Dublin.

Byrnes claimed she had been evicted from the surgery by the landlords and owners of the property in Glenageary from where she has operated the surgery since June of last year.

Their actions, she claimed, meant she was not in a position to attend to her patients.

She took the proceedings  against Pearl Health Ltd, its director David Johnson of Killiney Hill Upper, Killiney Co Dublin, and UK based Irish businessman Derek Richardson, who is the owner of English premiership rugby team Wasps.

At the High Court on Monday Mr Justice Michael Hanna granted Dr Byrnes an interim injunction restraining the defendants from interfering with her operation of and the employees working at the  medical practice at Glenageary.

The defendants must also surrender vacant possession of the property to her and are prohibited from trespassing on the property.  The injunction also restrains the defendants from accessing, interfering with or removing patients’ records held at the GP clinic.

In a sworn statement Dr Byrnes,  who also operates another 'Generation Health' clinic in Castleknock Dublin, said that following negotiations in 2015 she established a new GP clinic at Glenageary shopping centre, where she employs two GPs.

She did so after Pearl Health Ltd had stated its plan was to bring together dentists, physiotherapists and other related professionals in the first floor offices of the shopping centre so as to create a medical centre.

At that time she said Pearl's Director, Mr Johnson, advised her that Mr Richardson was his business partner. While she had never met  Richardson she said he is the owner of the 1st Floor premises of the shopping centre.

She said it had been agreed she would be a lessee of the property, where she would have exclusive rights to provide GP services under the 'Generation Health' brand.

As part of the agreement rent was to be paid to Pearl in the form of 20% of the profit available after Generation Health paid its staff. It was to be capped at €40k per year.

She claimed that attempts had been made to amend the agreement,  which she said amounted to an unlawful interference with her business.

Changes had been made to the clinics website without her knowledge which had made it look like the GPs employed by 'Generation Health' were employed by another company.  A printed brochure promoting the medical clinic had made no mention of the Generation Health brand, and inappropriate e-mails had been sent to staff, she claimed.

When she attempted to pay rent at the end of May it had been returned, and in a letter from Mr Johnson in June she had been informed that 'Generation Health' no longer existed in Glenageary and had been served a vacate notice.

Legal correspondence between the parties had followed. Dr Byrnes said she had been informed earlier this month that her agreement with the defendants had been terminated and that the locks would be changed and her belongings removed.  When she arrived for work on Friday August 12th last there had been an attempt to lock her out of the premises.   

She says she now stands evicted from the premises.

Byrnes says that she fears the actions of the respondents will cause irreparable damage to her medical and business reputation, as well as her standing in the community.  She also said she had put "very considerable" time, effort and expense into the GP surgery. 

The injunction was granted on an ex-parte basis, where only side was present in court.

Mr Justice Hanna said while it was not appropriate to comment on the matter, he was satisfied from the evidence put before him to grant Dr Byrnes a temporary injunction.  The Judge made the matter returnable to Monday of next week. 

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