DENTAL nurses - sacked after NHS bosses staged an internal shake-up - have won a fresh battle for unfair dismissal payouts.

Five former Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust workers were dismissed after the emergency dental service (EDS) was reorganised last summer.

Last year the Accrington Victoria Hospital based nurses - Joanne Clarke, Janine Boothman, Julie Blackstock, Janet Mather and Linzi Tiffin - were told they had won an employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.

All five had been told by the trust that from October 2017 full-time nurses would be offered emergency shifts, as Lancashire Care sought to reduce a budget overspend,

Lawyers for Lancashire Care were able to appeal the decision and sanction a second hearing, insisting that judgement was wrong as their rota working could not be considered 'continuous employment'.

Edward Nutman, representing the NHS trust, argued that the nurses were working 'on assignment', for each rota period they were employed.

This meant that the ending of their jobs was not because of a reduction in work but that there was "no overarching contract of employment", a fair reason for dismissal, he added.

And if was not the case then it could be held that Lancashire Care "acted fairly in not following normal redundancy processes because of a genuine and mistaken belief that the claimants were not employees", said Mr Nutman.

But Employment Judge Hilary Slater again ruled in the nurses' favour, after a new hearing in Manchester.

She said: "The claimants were saying that they thought they had been employees since they started working for the emergency dental service, since they committed themselves to work for this by signing up for shifts on rotas.

"They distinguished this from a more typical 'bank' arrangement where a nurse would be called on at short notice to cover for absence."

The reconvened tribunal was told that if the original judgement was confirmed then the five nurses would be entitled to statutory redundancy payments, which could be agreed between the parties. Four of the nurses had worked for the EDS since 1999 and Linzi Tiffin had been employed there since 2003, a previous hearing was told.